JAIPUR: On Saturday, an Alwar court announced death penalty in a rape case for the first time ever since an Act was passed in March that entailed capital punishment for culprits raping minors below the age of 12 in Rajasthan.Special judge Jagendra Kumar Agarwal took 12 hearings over 22 days before convicting the accused, Pintu, on Wednesday and announcing the quantum of punishment three days later. On May 9, the father of a seven-month-old girl alerted the police that Pintu had raped his daughter while she was left in the care of his relative. His relative told him that the girl was taken away by Pintu. It was during this period that the convict had violated the minor, who was later found crying in pain at a football field about a kilometer away from her home.
Pintu was arrested and slapped charged under the relevant sections of under the IPC and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act.It is the first such case in Rajasthan after the criminal law (amendment) ordinance, which introduced IPC Section 376 AB came into force on April 21 under which the provision of death penalty for raping a girl below 12 years of age was introduced, according to DGP OP Galhotra.
Rajasthan has recorded a substantial rise is the numbers of rapes committed against minors in recent years. In a period of 71 days, there were reports of 37 minors, aged between 3 to 12 years, who were sexually assaulted. In 22 cases, charge sheets were submitted in the courts while police investigation is still not completed in 15 cases.
While the number of such cases is rapidly rising, the legal redressal process for the victims is slow. Given the paucity of the Pocsao courts and the laxity of investigations, barely 15% of the accused are actually punished. This is the first case where the conviction was completed in record time and guilty is sentenced with death penalty. Nisha Sidhhu, a women’s rights activist, called it a historic decision. “This heinous act comes the category of rarest to rare. We hope that it will give a strong message to the criminals of filthy mind and will put a check on such crimes.”
‘First in rajasthan, third in country’
Public prosecutor Kuldeep Jain said this was the first such case in Rajasthan and the third in the country. “In the first two cases, the accused was given death sentence,” the public prosecutor said. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 was brought in on April 21, in the wake of the outcry over the gang rape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua.