Observing that the father of a daughter should be a “fortress and refuge” for her, a Delhi court has sentenced a 68-year-old man to double life imprisonment for raping his stepdaughter over eight years and fathering two children with her.
While delivering the sentence against the convict, Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Devendra Kumar Sharma said the case was “completely different and peculiar.”
The convict, who had started abusing his stepdaughter while she was still a minor, has been ordered to pay Rs 25,000 compensation. The court also sentenced him to one-year rigorous imprisonment on charges of criminal intimidation.
“Even in ordinary criminal terminology, rape is a crime more heinous than murder as it destroys the very soul of hapless women,” said the court.
The ASJ said a father should be a “fortress, refuge and trustee” for his daughter, adding, “By betraying the trust and taking undue advantage of the trust reposed in him by the daughter, the convict had ravished the chastity of his daughter, jeopardised prospects of her marriage and of enjoying a marital and conjugal life, thrown her out totally devastated.”
The court said the convict had caused permanent stigma to the victim and jeopardized the future of the two children.
Citing data from the National Crime Records Bureau, the court said a rape is committed in India every 20 minutes. “Rape being the fastest growing crime, it is undoubtedly one of the most deplorable, belligerent and atrocious acts committed against the dignity of women,” observed the ASJ.
The court directed that half of the compensation be paid to the victim and also asked the Delhi State Legal Services Authority to provide monetary aid.
“It would be relevant to mention that any amount of compensation would not be sufficient for the agony suffered by the prosecutrix (victim), but at least she will be compensated with monetary assistance as she has two children,” said the court. Earlier, the defence had sought clemency on the grounds of the convict’s advanced age and because he had four minor children, including a disabled child, to fend for. The defence argued that his children had stopped going to school after their father’s incarceration, as he was the sole breadwinner of the family.
But the prosecution argued that the convict had completely violated his daughter’s trust, forcibly engaged in the act and threatened to kill her. The prosecutor told the court that the victim had been raped as recently as a week before she lodged her complaint, and sought the maximum punishment.
The father of the victim had abandoned his family years ago. The convict met the victim’s mother, who lived in Dehradun, in 1995. After marrying her, he brought her, the victim and her brother to Delhi to live with him.