Unnao rape case: Kuldeep Sengar moves Delhi HC challenging conviction, life imprisonment
New Delhi, Jan 15: Expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar moved the Delhi High Court Wednesday challenging his conviction and imprisonment till the last breath for raping a minor girl in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, in 2017.
His petition is under objection and it will be listed for hearing once all the defects are cured. Sengar has sought quashing of the December 16, 2019 judgement of the trial court which convicted him.
He has also sought setting aside of the December 20 order sentencing him to imprisonment till remainder of his life.
The trial court had convicted 54-year-old Sengar under various provisions including Section 376 (2) of IPC which deals with the offence of rape committed by a public servant who "takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on a woman in his custody as such public servant or in the custody of a public servant subordinate to him".
It had awarded him the maximum punishment of life term with a rider that the convict will remain in jail for "remainder of his natural biological life" and also imposed an exemplary fine of Rs 25 lakh on him to be paid within a month.
The amendments made in August last year in the POCSO Act, which carries a provision of death penalty, did not come into effect as the incident took place in 2017 before the law was amended. Sengar was also held guilty under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The woman was kidnapped and raped by Sengar in 2017 when she was a minor. The trial which started on August 5 last year after it was transferred from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh to Delhi on the Supreme Court's directions, was carried on a day-to-day basis.
The apex court, taking cognisance of the rape survivor's letter written to the then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, had on August 1 last year transferred all five cases registered in connection with the Unnao rape incident from a Lucknow court in Uttar Pradesh to the court in Delhi with directions to hold trial on daily basis and completing it within 45-days.
The trial court in its verdict had termed his offence as a "depraved act" of a "democratic functionary" leading to erosion of citizens' faith in him. It had said Sengar was a 'public servant' when he committed the depraved act of 'aggravated penetrative sexual assault' upon the minor girl and "every coercive measure was adopted by the convict himself and through his henchmen to intimidate, harm and silence the victim girl and her family members from raising any voice against him".
"The convict was a key democratic functionary being representative of the people and the offence committed by the convict has eroded the faith of the people to which he owed allegiance and a duty to exhibit upright moral behaviour and probity in personal and public life," the trial court had said in its order on quantum of sentence.
It had said the offence of rape upon a minor child indelibly leaves a scar on the most cherished possession viz. her dignity, chastity, honour and reputation. Therefore, mercy in such heinous crime committed by powerful persons would be a travesty of justice and the plea of the leniency cannot be sustained, it had said.
The trial court had said that after the victim wrote letter to the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, several criminal cases were filed against her family and "imprints of Sengar" were visible in them. The woman co-accused in the case Shashi Singh was acquitted of all charges.