Digital Rape Case: Delhi High Court Reduces 20-Year Jail Term Awarded To Man Convicted Of Raping Minor Girl

Digital Rape Case: Delhi High Court Reduces 20-Year Jail Term Awarded To Man Convicted Of Raping Minor Girl

Justice Amit Bansal said the appellant, aged 38, has a "substantial life ahead of him" as well as an aging mother to look after, and his conduct in jail was satisfactory.

PTIUpdated: Friday, January 05, 2024, 07:53 PM IST
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New Delhi, January 5: The Delhi High Court on Friday reduced to 12 years the 20-year jail term awarded to a man convicted for "digital rape" on a four-year-old girl in 2014. Justice Amit Bansal said the appellant, aged 38, has a "substantial life ahead of him" as well as an aging mother to look after, and his conduct in jail was satisfactory.

"The trial court had sentenced the appellant for 20 years of rigorous imprisonment observing that the appellant had committed 'digital rape' on a child of four years at the time of the incident," the court said.

What Is Digital Rape?

Digital rape refers to the act of penetration by using fingers. The court upheld the conviction of the appellant under POCSO Act but added, "In my considered view, ends of justice will be met if the sentence of the appellant is reduced to 12 years. In this view of the matter, I deem it appropriate to reduce the sentence of the appellant from 20 to 12 years. The fine of Rs 15,000 awarded by the trial court is retained."

The appellant, the brother-in-law of the victim's tutor, was awarded a 20-year jail term in 2021 under Section 6 (aggravated penetrative sexual assault) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Indian Penal Code along with a fine of Rs 15,000 by the trial court.

The court stated that under POCSO Act, penetrative sexual assault can occur if there is insertion, to any extent, of an object or body part of an accused into the vagina, urethra, or anus of a child and in the present case, the appellant failed to successfully rebut the "presumption" against him by leading evidence or discrediting the evidence of the prosecution.

Penetrative sexual assault qualifies as aggravated penetrative sexual assault under certain situations such as the victim being less than 12 years of age. The court observed that the trial court rightly held that just because the defence witness, the tuition teacher who was related to the appellant, turned hostile, the statements of the victim child cannot be ignored.

'Absence Of Injuries On Private Parts Cannot Indicate Penetrative Sexual Assault Didi Not Happen'

Absence of external injuries on the private parts as well as the hymen of the victim being intact did not mean that she was not subjected to penetrative sexual assault, opined the court. The court also observed that there was no straight-jacket formula under the criminal law for sentencing an accused and its objective should be to create a deterrence as well as bring a reformation.

It noted that the appellant has undergone more than nine years in prison, during which he has been working as a 'langar sahayak' and his conduct was satisfactory. "He has not been involved in any other offence. It is also relevant to note that the appellant was a young man of around 28 years at the time of commission of the offence. As on date, he is around 38 years of age and has a substantial life ahead of him. He also has an aging mother to look after," the court said.

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