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Leniency to accused ‘undesirable’ in sexual offences: Delhi HC

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By Garima Tyagi

New Delhi, Nov 21 (IANS)

Leniency in cases of sexual offences is “undesirable” and “against public interest”, the Delhi High Court has said while declining relief to a man who was handed a five year term by a trial court for abducting and sodomizing a minor.

Sexual offences “degrade and humiliate the victims” and offends their self-esteem, the court observed, taking strict note of the crime committed by the accused.

Justice S.P. Garg, in a significant ruling that has wide-ranging repercussions, said: “Sexual violence, apart from being a dehumanising act is an unlawful intrusion of the right to privacy and sanctity of a victim.”

On March 21, 2003 the trial court had awarded five year jail term to Gulfam for sodomizing, kidnapping and criminally intimidating a 16-year-old boy. Gulfam was not alone in the crime. Gulfam was assisted by a juvenile in sexually assaulting the young boy. However, his partner in crime had challenged the judgment claiming he was a juvenile on the date of the incident. The sentencing order against him was then quashed.

Justice Garg said that the sexual acts committed with victims leave behind a traumatic experience on their life. The court had a view that act committed by the accused here was “pre-planned” and deliberate with an intention to satisfy lust.

“It offends his/her (victim’s) self-esteem and dignity- it degrades and humiliates the victim and where the victim is a helpless innocent child, it leaves behind a traumatic experience. Thus, leniency in matters involving sexual offences is undesirable and against public interest. The appellant’s (accused) crime is the result of a perverse mind,” the court said in the judgment.

“The victim was minor aged 16 years on the day of occurrence. The assailants committed sodomy on this person using knives and putting him in fear. They abducted him to a secluded place voluntarily and had carnal intercourse against the order of nature without his consent and against his wishes.”

“The assailants were armed with deadly weapons and were under the influence of liquor that time at odd hours. The act was pre-planned and deliberate with an intention to satisfy lust. The assailants took turns to ravish the child and caused injuries on his body,” the court added.

Gulfam had not challenged the conviction order of trial court, but asked the High Court to release him for the period already undergone by him in custody, which is about three years.

Both the accused had abducted the victim at knife point on Aug 24, 2000. The next day, the victim registered an FIR at Chandni Mahal police station after which both the accused were arrested.

The court also noted that a similar case of sodomy had also been filed at Darya Ganj police station against Gulfam in 1999.

Justice Garg observed that Gulfam was 21 years on the day of incident and had associated a minor in committing the crime.

“Considering these facts and circumstances, I find no sufficient ground to modify the sentence order. The appeal is unmerited. The conviction and sentence of the appellant are maintained and the appeal is dismissed”.