Hoshiarpur (Punjab): Believed to be the first judgment of its kind in the country after the amendment in the anti-rape laws, a Punjab court yesterday sentenced two men to life imprisonment till death for a minor’s rape.
Additional District and Sessions Judge J.S. Bhinder in Hoshiarpur town sentenced Daljit Singh and Amarjit Singh to “undergo imprisonment for life which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of the convicts’ natural life”.
The court also imposed a penalty of Rs.50,000 each on both the convicts. They were also sentenced to undergo five years rigorous imprisonment under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012. Both sentences would run concurrently.
Both the men have been convicted for the rape of a five year girl in a village in Hoshiarpur district, 150 km from Chandigarh.
Legal experts said that this was the first judgment of its kind in the country in which the convicts had been sentenced to life imprisonment till natural death under the tough anti-rape laws introduced by home ministry after the Dec 16, 2012 Delhi gang rape.
The court of judge Bhinder in February delivered the verdict and sentenced a man to 10 years rigorous imprisonment within 48 working hours of the matter coming up before it. In another rape case, the same judge delivered the verdict within three days after fast-tracking the matter.
In the case involving Daljit Singh and Amarjit Singh, the court decided the matter in over 100 days and invoked provisions under the tough anti-rape law.
The victim, a five year old, had gone missing from her house in Ibrahimpur village Feb 18. Her mother traced her to the house of village resident Daljit Singh. The mother found the child being sexually molested by the two men.
Both of them were later arrested by police and charged for rape and other offences.
The convicts claimed, in their defence, that medical evidence did not prove rape since the victim had no injuries.
The new anti-rape penal provision (Section 376-D of Indian Penal Code) states: “Where a person is sexually assaulted by one or more persons constituting a group or acting in furtherance of a common intention, each of those persons shall be deemed to have committed the offence of sexual assault, regardless of gender and shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 20 years, but which may extend to life and shall pay compensation to the victim which shall be reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim.”
“Explanation – For the purposes of this section, imprisonment for life shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life.”