NEW DELHI: Courts cannot turn a blind eye to gruesome crimes against women which require exemplary punishment, a Delhi court has held while sentencing six persons to upto 12 years for gangraping a woman in a Gramin Sewa vehicle nearly four years back.
The court observed that a young unmarried woman will not put her reputation in peril by alleging falsely about forcible sexual assault.
"The increasing trend of crimes against women can be arrested only once society realises that any form of deviance against women would not be tolerated and more so in extreme cases of brutality such as the present one.
"Hence the criminal justice system must instill confidence in the minds of people, especially women," Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain said in a 55-page order.
"These are the times when gruesome crimes against women have become rampant and courts cannot turn a blind eye to the need to send a strong deterrent message to the perpetrators of such crimes. Such offences require exemplary punishment," the court said.
It handed down 12 years jail term to 31-year-old Vicky for the offences of gangrape, kidnapping and unnatural offences and sent five other convicts, including a Gramin Sewa driver, to 10 years in jail for gangraping the victim.
According to the prosecution, a complaint was lodged on May 19, 2012 that the woman was raped by six persons in a vehicle near Kalindi Kunj in south-east Delhi.
The court said that the role of a judge is to cull out true facts from the evidence led before him and "ensure that guilty does not go scotfree and innocent's life and liberty is not jeopardised."
It relied on victim's testimony and rejected contention of defence counsel that there were contradictions in her evidence saying, "A person with so much trauma cannot be expected to remember every scene and depose in a parrot-like manner."
Opposing any leniency towards the convicts, Prosecutor Mohd Iqrar had argued that the offences committed by them were serious and they deserved stringent punishment.
The police said accused Vicky, Lucky, Yasin and Satyajeet had abducted the woman and took her to an isolated place where these four along with Uma Shanker and Amit gangraped her.
Vicky also committed unnatural sex with her and threatened to kill her, it said.
All the accused had denied the allegations and claimed they were falsely implicated.
"The important thing that the court has to bear in mind is that what is lost by a rape victim is face. The victim loses value as a person. Ours is a conservative society, therefore, a woman and more so a young unmarried woman will not put her reputation in peril by alleging falsely about forcible sexual assault," it said.
The court said it must be sensitive and responsive to the plight of the female victim of sexual assault.
"Society's belief and value systems need to be kept uppermost in mind as rape is the worst form of woman's oppression. A forcible sexual assault brings in humiliation, feeling of disgust, tremendous embarrassment, sense of shame, trauma and lifelong emotional scar to a victim," it said.
The court also condemned how a rape victim is treated in the society which thinks of her as a "sinner".
"We must realize that a woman suffers a tremendous sense of shame and the fear of being shunned by society. Instead of treating her with compassion and understanding, as one who is injured victim of a crime, she is, more often that not,treated as a sinner and shunned," it said.
The court, while sentencing the convicts, refused to take a lenient view towards them saying, it is true that convicts are young and have a family to support but on the other hand we must see the plight of the woman, who was forced to illicit intercourse, which is considered to be among "the most morally and physically, reprehensible crime in the society."
It noted that the woman remained hospitalised for seven months to recover from the pain and trauma yet she had immediately lodged a police complaint.
"She was under so much trauma and pain that after the incident, she remained hospitalised for a long time as she had received multiple injuries," it said.
The court, while sending the convicts to jail,also imposed varied fines.
Vicky, who was awarded 12 years in jail, was also slapped a fine of Rs 70,000. Lucky, Yasin and Satyajeet, who were awarded 10 years in jail for offences of gangrape and kidnapping, were directed to pay Rs 40,000 fine while Amit and Uma Shanker were asked to pay Rs 25,000 fine.
The court, which directed that the total fine be paid to the victim, also ordered the District Legal Service Authority to adequately compensate the woman under victim compensation scheme.
The victim, a rag picker, had told the police that she took a Gramin Sewa on the night of May 18, 2012 to go to Nehru Place and after dropping other passengers, the vehicle was stopped by its driver Lucky at a petrol station where other accused boarded it and took turns to rape her.