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FPJ Legal: 33-year-old man raping a minor after luring her with snacks doesn’t deserve leniency, Bombay High Court observes

07:23 PM Sep 22, 2021 | Urvi Mahajani

Mumbai: A 33-year-old man raping a five-year-old girl by luring her with snacks does not deserve any leniency, said the Bombay High Court while upholding life imprisonment imposed on Balu Patil by sessions court at Alibaug.

A division bench of Justices Sadhana Jadhav and Sarang Kotwal dismissed the appeal filed by Patil observing, “The victim was barely five years of age and the appellant was over 35 years of age at the time of the incident. The victim had suffered a bleeding injury. She had innocently gone to his house on his inducement. We are not inclined to show any leniency to the appellant (Patil).”

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Sessions court at Alibaug, in July 2013, had convicted Patil to life imprisonment under the Indian Penal Code and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for raping a five-year-old girl in 2010. The sessions court had also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 of which Rs 9,900 was paid to the victim’s mother. Atrocities Act was invoked since the girl belonged to a scheduled caste.

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According to the prosecution, on November 19, 2010, the girl was playing outside with her friends and brother. Patil approached the girl and offered her snacks and took her home, which was barely 100 meters away.

The girl then returned home and narrated the incident to her parents. The mother found injuries on the girl’s private parts. The parents then lodged a First Information Report with the police.

During the investigation, the police found bloodstains on a chair and a wedding card in Patil’s house. The medical report proved that the blood group matched that of the girl.

Additional public prosecutor SV Sonavane argued that the girl deposed before the trial court that a person known as “Balu” came near her house. He offered to give her some snacks and called her to his house. He took her to his house and assaulted her. The girl identified Patil before the trial court as the man who assaulted her.

Patil’s advocate, Niranjan Mundargi, argued that the girl’s evidence shows that she was tutored and hence unreliable. The mother had told the police that the girl returned on her own and narrated the incident. However, during the trial, the mother told the court that she went to Patil’s house and got the girl back, argued Mundargi.

According to the statement before the trial court, the mother had seen Patil talking to the girl and after a quarrel drove him away. However, the girl was not to be found after some time, the mother said that she went to Patil’s house to check since she had spotted him with her daughter.

Rebecca Gonsalves, counsel for the mother, argued that the case was immediately reported to the police. The girl was sent for medical examination without delay and the medical examination supports the prosecution case. There was no scope to concoct and to implicate Patil falsely, she argued.

Besides, Gonsalves further argued, “considering the tender age of the victim, her deposition will have to be perused from that angle and in any case, it does not show that the victim’s father had tutored her regarding the actual incident.”

Agreeing with the prosecution, the judges observed that the medical evidence was a “strong incriminating piece of evidence” against Patil.

Mundargi then sought that some leniency be shown and Patil’s sentence may be reduced.

However, rejecting Patil’s appeal, the HC observed: “We have considered the injuries and trauma suffered by the victim. Therefore, there is no reason to reduce the quantum of the sentence awarded to the appellant. We are not inclined to reduce the sentence.”

The sessions court had directed the District Special Social Welfare Officer, Raigad-Alibaug to pay compensation of Rs 1,20,000 to the victim’s mother as per the provisions of the Atrocities Act. He was also directed to pay the travelling allowances and daily wages of the victim and her parents in visiting the office of the investigating officer and he was also directed to make arrangements for rehabilitation of the victim.

Also Read: FPJ Legal: State human rights commission is a defunct body in Maharashtra, Bombay High Court observes

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