Dismissing the appeal of a rape convict seeking reduction of punishment,the Bombay High Court recently held that having dependents cannot be an excuse to seek leniency in punishment for a crime and more so in a crime against women,that too rape.
The court made the observation while dismissing the appeal filed by Satinath Raut (33) who sought a reduction in his sentence from seven to five years,the period already served by him,saying he had five children,his wife and an old mother to look after. Raut is presently lodged at the Nagpur central prison.
Justice A P Bhangale observed,The socio-economic status of the accused is irrelevant and cannot constitute adequate and special reasons,before the court.
Raut was convicted on February 14,2007,on charges of raping a married woman and threatening her with a knife. According to the prosecution,the victim was sleeping with her minor daughter when the accused forcibly entered her house,raped her and threatened to assault her with a knife if she narrated the incident to anyone. However,the victim told her husband about it and a police complaint was filed. The accused was soon arrested and and chargesheeted for the same.
During the trial,the prosecution examined eight witnesses and Raut was convicted. Rauts lawyer Santosh Akolkar in the appeal said,The accused has five children and an aged mother to look after and the sentence imposed should be reduced to the period already undergone during the pendency of the appeal.
Additional Public Prosecutor J B Jaiswal strongly opposed the plea saying,Imposition of meager sentence on account of lapse of time is not permissible. The physical scar heals but mental scar is difficult to heal. The victim has been ravished which results in shame for her.
Justice Bhangale turned down Rauts plea and said,Merely a large family of the accused is irrelevant to determine and reduce the extent of imprisonment and fine because punishment which is imposed on the convict is proportionate to the crime committed. The court has to bear in mind the societys cry for justice. The sentence has to be stern where it needs to be and tampered with mercy if it warrants to be.