An ex-serviceman, sentenced for raping and impregnating his minor relative 20 years ago, will remain behind bars, with the Bombay High Court (HC) dismissing his discharge plea. The HC observed that the girl’s economically weak parents trusted the man and let her stay with him, but instead of taking her responsibility he raped her repeatedly.
The man’s lawyer had argued that it was impossible for the accused to rape the victim in the presence of his family, and that the girl’s statement that she kept mum despite being raped was not “believable”.
Justice Abhay Thipsay, however, observed, “I am unable to accept this. The appellant was an ex-military man, and was gainfully employed in a company. The victim had been sent to his house, and apparently, was to stay there and have her education, because he was financially more affluent than the parents of the victim. He was the uncle of the victim’s mother, and thus, the grandfather of the victim.”
More importantly, Justice Thipsay observed, the fact that the victim was pregnant could not be, and was not, disputed. “Therefore, there must be somebody who had intercourse with the victim. The victim says he was the appellant,” the court said while observing that all facts of the case were against accused Tulshiram Mulik.
The judge said the victim’s relationship with the accused was such he would have certainly dominated her will. “When the victim — a 15-year-old girl — had been specially sent by her parents to stay in the appellant’s house and take education by being there, it was very difficult for her to resist the acts of the appellant,” the HC observed.
In 1995, the victim was 15 when her parents gave her custody to Mulik, so he could take care of her education. She was subsequently admitted in a school. After a few months, the girl was taken to a civil hospital when she missed her periods and felt nauseated too. The medical officers there confirmed that she had been pregnant for two months.
Consequently, her statement given to the police revealed her ordeal. She claimed that her mother’s uncle, who was a watchman at an automobile major, repeatedly raped her over four moths, leading to her pregnancy. The victim also claimed that Mulik’s wife and his two sons were not in town when she was raped for the first time.
Her statement to the police was treated as the first information report, following which Mulik was booked under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code.
The victim said the accused came home drunk and forced himself on her, while threatening her. The accused’s family as well as the victim slept in the same room, but that too did not stop him from raping her, she said during the cross-examination.
The details of her cross examination also revealed that she did not know the postal address of her parents and therefore could not write to them. When asked why she did not shout whenever the man raped her, she said she was sacred of his threats.
Seven witnesses, including the victim’s father, were examined during the trial, which ultimately resulted in Mulik being sentenced to 12 years’ jail term.
The HC modified Mulik’s jail term from 12 years to 10 years while pointing out a technical fault in the trial court’s order.