New Delhi, Mar 1: The Supreme Court has said that a rape convict can be awarded lesser punishment if courts find "adequate and special" reasons for doing so.
Though a bench of justices M Y Eqbal and Pinaki Chandra Ghose upheld the conviction of Madhya Pradesh resident Ravindra in a 20-year-old rape case, it allowed him to walk free after imposing a jail term already undergone by him.
Referring to a case law, the court considered as "adequate and special" reasons the fact that the trial was protracted and both convict and the victim have married separately. It also lent weightage to the fact that they have even entered into a compromise.
Section 376 (2) (g) of the IPC provides that the courts "for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgement" may impose a sentence of imprisonment of either description for a term of less than 10 years.
"We are of the opinion that the case of the appellant is a fit case for invoking the proviso to Section 376(2)(g) of IPC for awarding lesser sentence, as the incident is 20 years old and the fact that the parties are married and have entered into a compromise, are the adequate and special reasons," the bench said.
Ravindra was held guilty for rape by a trial court and was awarded 10 years rigorous imprisonment for raping a woman working in his fields on August 24, 1994.
The Madhya Pradesh High Court dismissed his appeal in 2013 and upheld his conviction and sentence, saying that in prosecution of rape, the law does not require corroboration of evidence.
The apex court agreed with the contention of Ravindra that he and the victim have entered into a compromise and she does not want to proceed with the case against him and wants to close the case as both of them are married (not to each other) and have settled in life.