NEW DELHI: Sexual offences against women are increasing and such crimes have to be dealt with strictly and no leniency should be shown to the offenders, Delhi High Court said, as it increased the imprisonment awarded to a convict from three to seven years.
"Rape is a heinous crime not only against the individual but also against the society at large. The offences against women more particularly under section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) are increasing. "Therefore, if such an offence is committed it has to be dealt with strictly and no leniency should be shown," a bench of justices G S Sistani and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said.
The bench made the observation while enhancing the three-year jail term to seven years of rigorous imprisonment awarded to convict Tanjeer Alam for raping a 15-year-old girl in May 2011.
The court said the punishment prescribed under the IPC reflects the gravity of offence and its impact on the society. "It is necessary for the courts to imbibe the legislative wisdom and respect it. The legislature in its wisdom made a provision for awarding a sentence of less than seven years when there are special and adequate reasons for the same.
"The power under the proviso is not to be used arbitrarily or routinely. It is to be used sparingly and only in cases where special facts and circumstances justify a reduction.
"In the present case, at the time of commission of offence, prosecutrix was less than 16 years of age and the punishment prescribed in the law is minimum seven years of rigorous imprisonment which can be reduced only if there exist some special and adequate reasons for the same," it said.
The bench said "considering the age of the prosecutrix at the time of the occurrence of the offence... it is not a fit case where sentence less than the minimum should be awarded."
The trial court in November 2015 had convicted and awarded varying jail term to the convict for kidnapping and raping a minor when she was going to meet her father at his stall near Seelampur police station in north east Delhi.
The sessions court had awarded 3-year jail term to the convict for raping the minor and a year imprisonment for the offence of kidnapping.
The convict had denied the allegations and claimed that the girl had gone with him at her own will as she was in love with him and wanted to marry him.