Noting that his act was “sickening and unpardonable”,a Delhi court today sentenced a 61-year-old man to 10 years of imprisonment for molesting and abetting suicide of his pregnant daughter-in-law.
Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau awarded the jail term to Sultanpuri resident Bharat Singh Rawat who was found guilty of outraging modesty of his 24-year-old daughter-in-law and sexually abusing her,thereby instigating her to end her as well as the life of her unborn child.
The court observed that Rawat was molesting the victim by taking advantage of the situation that her husband used to stay in Mumbai due to work and his trick was that either she should submit herself to his “evil designs or else he would defame her”.
“There is something seriously wrong with our social set- up. If a woman is not safe in her own house,she is safe nowhere. Instead of being a shield to his young pregnant
daughter-in-law in the absence of his son who was away to a different city on account of work exigencies,he rather took advantage of the situation.
“It is this realisation which impelled the victim to end her life,finding herself alone and helpless in warding-off and resisting the advances of her father-in-law (as reflected from the suicide note),” the court said. The woman had committed suicide by hanging herself at her residence on September 3,2008,within two years of her marriage and in her suicide note she had accused her father- in-law of sexually abusing her that compelled her to take the extreme step,police had said.
A case of abetment of suicide was lodged against Rawat and later on,the court had also invoked the provision of outraging modesty of his daughter-in-law. Before ending her life,the woman had also sent a mail to her younger brother asking him to study well and to take care of their parents but her brother had read the mail after her suicide,police had said.
The court observed that many women in our society have silently suffered this kind of sexual exploitation by the husband’s family as a “matter of right and it is revolting to witness this accommodation of women as an object of sexual gratification”.
“This court cannot ignore the harsh realities of sexual abuse of woman not only within the family amongst blood relations but also within the family of the in-laws. Intra- familial sexual abuse is a deep seated malady in our social order and a crime which most of the family members tend to conceal,” the judge said.
The court also held that Rawat,by taking advantage of his dominating relationship with the victim,created such a situation for her which “virtually pushed her into a desperate situation of no return and compelled her to put an end to her miseries by committing suicide”. Rawat had sought leniency on the ground that he was a senior citizen. The court,however,turned down his plea and awarded him the maximum punishment of 10 years for his offence,saying the sufferings which the victim had undergone must be immense and unimaginable which compelled her to chose death rather than submitting to evil designs of her father-in-law.
“What the convict has done with his own daughter-in-law is sickening and unpardonable. The convict deserves exemplary punishment and the court shall be unsparing in this regard,” the judge said.