The Sessions court judge has said the Shakti Mills gangrape incident has ‘shocked the collective conscience of the nation’.
The judge said, “The utmost perversity and depravity shown in raping the photojournalist was beyond any toleration and understanding.”
In her 232-page judgment copy made available to the convicts Thursday, sessions court principal judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi said, “The fact that this incident has happened even before the uproar and anguish created by Nirbhaya incident (Delhi gang rape case) was calmed down, the fact that despite stringent laws being made, the young youths are repeatedly indulging in barbaric, inhuman offence; having least regard to the sanctity of human life and individual’s dignity, totally defying law and order, was beyond toleration and understanding of the society.”
The verdict was passed eight months after the heinous crime was committed by five men including a minor. The court had on April 5 awarded death penalty to three of the convicts — Vijay Jadhav (18), Mohammad Qasim Shaikh (20) and Salim Ansari (27); and Siraj Rehman (24) was sentenced to life. The juvenile delinquent is still facing trial before the Juvenile Justice Board.
The judge has observed that the incident has created fear psychosis in the minds and has left a scar on the social order.
“The crime is enormous as it has put the safety of entire womenhood at stake. This incident created a dent in the belief that Mumbai is still a safe city for women,” the judgment reads.
The judge also compared the social abhorrence invoked by the Shakti mills incident to that of Delhi gangrape case. “In that (Delhi incident) case the victim was not left alive. In this (photojournalist’s gang rape) case, the victim is alive bu the society is yet to recover from the shock. The repetitiveness of the acts of gang rape in a planned, systematic manner was shocking,” the court observed.
Considering the prosecution’s claim that two of the convicts were “habitual offenders”, the judge observed, “The question is how many times such opportunity is to be given, if we are misusing it and meanwhile subjecting the victims to untold trauma and creating a feeling of insecurity in among women folk as such?” Society’s cry for justice has to be answered.