Punjab and Haryana High Court has reduced the sentence of four convicts in Patiala gangrape case to 12 years each from life imprisonment because they are of young age — which is 30-34 years.
The High Court was hearing an appeal filed by the convicts in 2013 over a trial court ruling which upheld their conviction.
“In the instant case, statement of the prosecutrix is duly corroborated by the medical evidence as well. There is no occasion for us to interfere with the well reasoned judgment of the trial Court,” the division bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Kuldip Singh said in the judgement passed on Wednesday.
The Court further said, “However taking into consideration that the appellants are of young age, i.e. 30 to 34 years, sentence of imprisonment for life awarded for offence under Section 376(2)(g) IPC is reduced to 12 years without remissions.” It also upheld the fine of Rs 10,000 upon the accused. The convicts include Kulwinder Singh alias Billu, Amandeep Singh alias Aman, Harinderjit alias Babby and Narinder alias Neelu. In view of the judgement, the accused will be free after five years.
The case dates back to August 2012 . The victim along with a friend was returning from a tuition centre at around 8.30 pm in Punjab’s Patiala district. The girl was riding a scooter and her friend was on a motor cycle. The four accused persons forcibly took her away on one of the two motorcycles being driven by them when they – the victim and her friend – had stopped after the latter’s bike broke down on the road. One of the accused also took her mobile phone during the scuffle. While two accused raped her, the two others were also about to rape her when “police hooters were heard”.
When the police laid a cordon in the area after being informed by the victim’s friend, the victim was found and a search was started to nab the culprits who had abducted and raped her. During the search operation, three accused were arrested and fourth one surrendered before court later. Ten prosecution witnesses were examined during the trial, and all the accused were sentenced to life.
The division bench in the judgement further said, “Statements of DWs (Defence Witnesses) do not inspire confidence. The appellants have also taken the plea of alibi, however, they have not proved the same. It is settled law that any person who takes advantage of any exception, has to prove his case. Since the appellants have failed to prove the plea of alibi taken by them, their presence on the spot is confirmed”.