Updated: August 7, 2021 1:25:03 am
In a significant judgment last month, a special court in Gandhinagar district convicted nine persons for preventing a Dalit groom from riding a horse and carry out a wedding procession in Parsa village of Mansa tehsil of the district in 2018.
All the nine have been sentenced to five years’ simple imprisonment and fine of Rs 10,000; in default of payment of the fine they are ordered to undergo one month’s additional simple imprisonment.
The nine convicts were booked under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act commonly known as Atrocity Act.
The nine have been identified as Natwarsinh Parmar, Kuldipsinh Chauhan, Anirudhsinh Rathod, Devendrasinh Chavda, Vijaysinh Chauha, Vipulkumar Chauhan, Jigersinh Chauhan, Naresh Kumar Chauhan and Virendrasinh Chauhan. All of them are resident of Parsa village and belong to the local upper caste Darbar community.
A special court for the cases under Atrocity Act in the district presided over by the judge Shakuntala Solanki passed a judgment in the case on July 17.
The case was reported from Parsa village of Mansa tehsil on June 17, 2018. Mansa police station officials had registered a case under the provisions of IPC and Atrocity Act on the basis of a complaint by Varsha’s uncle Manibhai Parmar. Varsha and her family are members of Scheduled Caste community and residents of Parsa village.
As per the complaint, Varsha’s marriage was fixed with Prashant Solanki on June 17, 2018. As the baraat of Prashant reached the outskirts of Parsa village, the baraatis were planning to carry out a procession with the groom riding a horse. However, the accused prevented the groom from mounting a horse and carry out procession in the village while also hurling casteist slur against them. Following this, the man who had brought horse for the wedding procession ran away with the horse.
Eventually, the Dalits had called village sarpanch Rajendra Patel while also informing police. Rajendra also tried to persuade the accused. Police also rushed to the spot. Both Rajendra and police separately arranged for horse. And at last, the wedding procession was carried out under police protection with the groom riding a horse after delay of more than three hours.
Criminal trial of the case carried out in the special court for over two-and-a-half-years and the special judge pronounced the judgment on July 17 convicting the nine.
One of the defence arguments of the accused was that the complaint was filed with a grudge over an earlier quarrel. Dismissing the defence argument, the court has observed, “Such defence is not swallowable because as a prudent man, no father would be ready to spoil or destroy the happiness of marriage of his own daughter by filing a false complaint.”
Before the announcement of sentence to be awarded to the accused, the defence had requested the court to adopt a lenient view since the accused were bread earner of the family and first time offenders.
The court, however, observed, “…considering the entire facts and circumstance of the peculiar present case, such type of incidents are increasing rampantly in the society and hence, a lenient view will adversely affect the society at large.”
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