Observing that persons of “high social status” are expected to exhibit “moral character of the highest degree”, a Delhi court has sentenced a senior official of the National Human Rights Commission to seven years in prison for raping a woman after giving her false assurance of marriage.
Additional sessions judge Virender Bhat said, “The fact that the convict is a gazetted officer serving in the NHRC makes the offence committed by him more serious. Persons like the convict are expected to exhibit a moral character of the highest degree and serve as an example in the society.”
Rejecting the defence counsel’s contention to grant leniency and convicting the NHRC official under sections 376 (rape) and 493 (cohabitation caused by a man deceitfully inducing a belief of lawful marriage) of the IPC, the court observed, “If a person occupying such a high social status in the society as that of the convict resorts to offence of rape by sexually victimising a widowed woman, he cannot claim any kind of leniency.”
The conviction comes in a 2010 case in which the victim had alleged that after the death of her husband, the convict “married her pretending to be a bachelor” and started having physical relations with her. She soon learnt that the convict was a married man with two children. The victim had claimed that the convict was a friend of her husband’s.
“No doubt, the convict had not been brutal or torturous towards the victim. However, the carnal assault upon a widow after inducing a belief in her mind that she has become lawfully married to the assailant cannot be termed as an offence of lesser gravity,” ASJ Bhat said.
The court also observed that the sexual relations with a woman by taking her consent through lying “amounts to physical assault upon her”.
Convicting the NHRC official for falsely solemnising marriage, the court said, “The offence under Section 493 of the IPC consists of giving a false assurance of marriage to a woman and thereby procuring her consent to sexual intercourse. When a man induces a woman to think that she has became his wife but in reality she is only his concubine, the offence envisaged under this section stands committed.”