NEW DELHI: The investigation in the 2017 Unnao rape case suffered from a "patriarchal approach" and "manifests the multitude of restrictions and taboo within which many women in rural areas are brought up, grow and survive," a Delhi court said on Monday.
District Judge Dharmesh Sharma made the observations while convicting expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar in the case for raping a woman in 2017, when she was a minor.
The court noted that "somewhere investigation in the instant case has not been fair qua victim of crime and her family members".
"The instant case manifests the multitude of restrictions and taboo within which many women in rural areas are brought up, grow and survive.
It epitomises the fear ingrained in the minds of young girls in the countryside or elsewhere against reporting issues of sexual assault by powerful persons," the judge said.
"In my considered opinion, this investigation has suffered from patriarchal approach or inherent outlook to brush the issues of sexual violence against children under the carpet apart from exhibiting lack of sensitivity and humane approach," he said.
Observing that the investigation in the case does not appear to have been fair to the survivor of the crime and her family members, the court held that the investigation has not been conducted by a woman officer as mandated by section 24 of the POCSO Act.
The judge noted that successive statements of the survivor had been recorded by calling her at the CBI office "without bothering for the kind of harassment, anguish and re-victimisation that occurs to a victim of sexual assault in such case".
The court convicted Sengar, saying the rape survivor's testimony was "truthful and unblemished" against a "powerful person".
It convicted Sengar for rape under the Indian Penal Code and the POCSO Act under sections including those dealing with penetrative sexual assault against a child by a public servant.