3 get death for repeat offence in gang-rape

3 get death for repeat offence in gang-rape

The sessions court here on Friday, while invoking Section 376 (e) of the Indian Penal Code for the first time in the country, sentenced the three repeat sex offenders in the Shakti Mills gang-rape cases to death.

Announcing the sentence, Principal Sessions Judge Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi said the trio, Vijay Jadhav (19), Qasim Bengali (21) and Mohammed Salim Ansari (28), “...don’t have any potential for reformation… and have least respect for law.”

Upholding the application of the section, she said, “The suffering undergone by the victim and her family is unparalleled. The accused were emboldened since law enforcing agencies had not caught them. If this is not the case where death sentence prescribed by law is not valid, which is?”

Elaborating on the decision the judge said, “Exemplary and rarest of rare punishment is required in the case and such crime violates all rights of survivor.”

Rejecting the arguments presented by the defence that the section is only applicable if the accused commits the offence after he is convicted and since in the present case the trials of two separate cases were held simultaneously, the judge said: “…If that was the intent of the legislature, it would not have used the word conviction but would have said that it was applicable to the accused who commits the offence after he undergoes the sentence.

“Moreover, she pointed out that while under section 376 (d) (gang-rape) the minimum punishment is 20 years and the maximum is life, under the provision of 376(e) it is therefore not expected that the convict will go in (to jail) then come out and then will commit an offence… Legislature wanted to ensure that such tendency should be crushed….and the entire tenor of the section 376 (e) makes it clear that it is intended for enhancement of punishment... The court is not dealing with a new offence but adding a new charge to ensure that the principle of natural justice is adhered to….”

Talking to the media, Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said that the court had also awarded life term for the fourth convict.

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