Inadequate jail terms undermine public confidence in law: Delhi HC

NEW DELHI
26 Jun 2017

Undue sympathy towards convicts by awarding inadequate jail term under ermines public confidence in efficacy of law", the Delhi High Court has said while upholding a 10-year term awarded by a trial court to a man for raping and trying to kill his ex-employer's daughter-in-law. Dismissing the 45-year-old man's plea for reduction of his punishment, Justice S P Garg said that awarding inadequate sentences is a "serious threat" society which it would not be able to endure. "It is the duty of every court to award proper sentence having regard to the nature of the offence and the manner in which it was committed. "Undue sympathy to impose inadequate sentence would do more harm to the justice system to undermine the public confidence in the efficacy of law and society could no longer endure under such serious threat," the court said. The trial court had awarded 10 years to the convict for the offence of rape and seven years for attempting to murder the victim, who had assisted him in getting a job and also used to teach his kids. His conviction was affirmed by the high court after he gave up his challenge to the findings of the trial court. He had, however, sought modification of his sentence on the ground that he has to support his family. Rejecting his plea, the court said that the man had betrayed the trust of the victim and "exhibited animal instinct at the time of commission of the crime". "She was defiled for no fault of hers. The appellant (convict) had pre-planned to commit the crime. In the early hours of morning he had consumed liquor. He was well aware that the prosecutrix (victim) was alone at her residence. "During the crime, he claimed that it was due to revenge against her father-in-law. Possibility of the appellant to be doing the horrible crime at someone's behest cannot be ruled out," the high court noted in its judgement. It said the trial court's sentence order was "based upon fair reasoning and no sound reasons exist to modify it". According to the prosecution, the convict had gained entry into the house on June 24, 2014, on the pretext to have water. At the time he was under the influence of alcohol and he followed the "unsuspecting" victim to the first floor of the house and taking advantage of the fact that she was alone, he had "executed his nefarious plan", the prosecutor had argued before the high court. The prosecutor had also contended that the convict had attempted to strangulate her, by throttling her neck with a pillow and mobile charger and when he did not succeed because of the victim's resistance, he raped her. "She begged for mercy, but it had no impact upon him. Timely arrival of the maid prevented more harm," the high court noted in its verdict.(PTI)