Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday said, no courts should show mercy or sympathy while punishing accused booked for raping minor girls. The HC further said, the object of a sentence is to protect the society and to deter criminals. The significant observations were made by a single-judge bench of Justice Anant Badar while upholding the 23 years rigorous imprisonment handed over to Sandeep Shinde, a school teacher, who raped a minor girl.
Justice Badar said, “The object of the sentencing policy is to protect the society and to deter the criminals. The imposition of appropriate punishment is the duty of the court in response to the cry of the society for justice. The Court is not only required to keep in mind the rights of the criminals, but also has to keep in mind the rights of the victim of the crime and the societal interest.”
“The initial impact of the crime cannot be lost sight of. Any liberal attitude by imposing a meagre sentence or taking sympathetic view for the sexual offence relating to the minor female victim would be counterproductive in the long run and against the societal interest,” Justice Badar held.
The judge was seized with an appeal filed by Shinde, who challenged his conviction by a sessions court in Satara. The school teacher was arrested in March 2012 by the Satara police in accordance to the complaint lodged by the parents of the 12-year-old survivor.
According to the prosecution case, Shinde, who visited the survivor’s house regularly, had twice taken her on a bike ride. During these two occasions, Shinde took her to a construction site and raped her. He had threatened her not to disclose the incident to anyone.
Having considered the facts, Justice Badar said, “The case in hand is one in which an accused who was working as a teacher in the school is proved to have committed penetrative sexual assault on a school going girl who is below 12 years of age. In this view of the matter, no adequate reason can be found out to scale down the sentence imposed on the applicant (Shinde).”