Four years after a mentally retarded girl was gangraped at Nari Niketan,Sector 26,Chandigarh,a local Court today awarded 10 years imprisonment to all the nine accused in the case. Terming them monsters and refusing to show any leniency,the Court of Preeti Sahni,Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADJ),awarded 10 years rigorous imprisonment (RI) to the nine accused. These include two women inmates of Nari Niketan,home for the destitute.
It was on May 18,2009,that Chandigarh Police initially registered a case of rape after the girl,a minor at that time,was found pregnant. Following this,it was later discovered that the girl had been raped by several inmates and public servants and that the crime was abetted and assisted by women inmates of Nari Niketan. The Police had later registered a case of gangrape under Section 376(2)(g) of the Indian Penal Code,which was later converted to Section 376(2)(c) of IPC (rape of an inmate in a government-run Institution).
A first of its kind,the case had reached the Punjab and Haryana High Court after the Chandigarh Administration had demanded abortion of the mentally retarded rape victim. A division bench of the High Court on July 17,2009,had ordered that the pregnancy of the 19-year-old be medically terminated promptly and forthwith. However,Advocate Tanu Bedi,co amicus curiae in the case,had moved the Supreme Court demanding a stay on the High Court judgment.
A Bench headed by the then Chief Justice of India,Justice K G Balakrishnan had,on July 21,2009,stayed the High Court judgment. The rape victim was in her 20th week of pregnancy when the case had reached the apex Court. On December 4,2009,the victim gave birth to a girl child who was later named Pari. The duo are at present being looked after by the Chandigarh Administration at Ashreya,Sector 47. At present,the Punjab and Haryana High Court is monitoring the condition of rape victim and her daughter.
In its order,the Judge ruled,The accused do not deserve any leniency. It is a matter of great shame and regret that persons who were entrusted with the duty of looking after such fellows became monsters and took advantage of their positions in those institutes and,thereby,ravished the poor helpless and mentally retarded girl. They had ravished her not only physically but took advantage of her mental weakness. The agony which she had undergone cannot be imagined. The act committed by them not only ravished her but made her pregnant also. Moreover,the present case is an eye opener to society and shows how affairs are on going in these institutes,which are meant for the welfare of destitute persons. If the persons at the helm of affairs were diligent,then this untoward incident could perhaps be avoided. So they do not deserve leniency.
The prosecution had sought life imprisonment for all the nine. Public Prosecutor Manish Dua had contended that the present case has shocked society. He had added that to show mercy in such like heinous offences would amount to denial of justice and would give a wrong message to society. The prosecution is likely to seek enhancement of the sentence awarded to the guilty after perusing the judgment.