Scribe rape: Prosecution  seeks enhanced sentence

The punishment has been sought under section 376(E) of the IPC, which stipulates life term till death or death penalty against the repeat offenders

Mumbai :  A Mumbai sessions court will now try three of the four convicts in the photojournalist gang rape case of August 2013 under an additional charge under section 376 (E) of the IPC, which pertains to repeat offenders.

While arguing on the quantum of sentence in the photojournalist’s case,  special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had moved an application seeking enhancement of sentence under section 376(E) of the Indian Penal Code, against the three common accused. Under this section, a repeat offender can be sentenced to imprisonment for the remainder of natural life or death.

Four men convicted for gang raping a photojournalist at Shakti Mill Compound last year are taken to the sessions court, in Mumbai on Monday
Four men convicted for gang raping a photojournalist at Shakti Mill Compound last year are taken to the sessions court, in Mumbai on Monday

Meanwhile, the Principal Sessions Shalini Phansalkar Joshi rejected the defence plea to stay the trial in the case.

The defence sought the stay, saying that they wanted to move the Bombay High Court, challenging the application filed by Nikam. However, the court turned down the defence’s plea.

Last Thursday, the court had convicted five adults – Vijay Jadhav, Qasim Sheikh alias Bengali, Salim Ansari and Mohammad Ashfak Shaikh and Siraj Sheikh in two gang rape cases involving a telephone operator and a photo-journalist at Shakti mill last year. Of the five three accused namely – Jadhav, Bengali and Ansari are common in both the cases.

On Friday, the court awarded life sentence to the four convicts in the gang rape of a telephone operator at the Shakti Mills compound last year. This means the accused face imprisonment till the end of their natural lives.

The prosecution has sought time to present their case and the matter has been adjourned to Tuesday. The three accused have pleaded not guilty.

“The manner in which the offence was committed reflects the depravity of the accused. The crime was not momentary but a premeditated outcome of a criminal conspiracy. They sexually ravished the girl and left her in a pathetic state,” observed Principal Sessions judge, Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi while awarding the life term to the convicts in the telephone operator case.

The four convicted – Vijay Jadhav, Qasim Sheikh alias Bengali, Salim Ansari and Mohammad Ashfak Shaikh — during the argument on sentencing pleaded to the court to take in account their socio-economic backgrounds. The court however observed, “System doesn’t make everyone a criminal. It is individual that commits the crime. The society or the system or the internet cannot be blamed to take a lenient view. This aspect is very important when the offence is that of rape”.

Arguing his case for maximum penalty, the special public prosecutor told the court, “There are no grounds to justify that these accused can be reformed. They are demons in human form,” Nikam said.

“They referred to the victim as ‘maal’( object) as if the young girl was a property that could be looted. The have left the victim in a vegetative state of mind. She suffers from post trauma stress,” added Nikam.

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