Court awards life term to man for raping daughter

Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau also imposed a fine of Rs two lakh on convict Sant Ram with a direction that out of the total money, Rs one lakh each would be given to the victim, who has already got married, and the child.

The court also expressed its anguish saying that the existing laws in India are highly inadequate in dealing with cases relating to incest by close relatives particularly where the father is the perpetrator of this brutality.

"Instances are not rare in India of people taking law into their own hand. Incest offences in many cases often end up in honour killings in our society. It is time to wake up to this situation and acknowledge the existence of incest in our Indian society before it is too late," the court said.

"The Indian society looks upon incest with horror on account of strong religious and social sentiments. There has been a long-standing demand for a separate legislation in this regard but it appears that this issue has been on the least priority in the political agenda," it added.

Even though the maximum punishment for the offence of rape is life term, the court said it is desirable that the convict not be granted any remission after 14 years so that he is not able to interfere in the matrimonial life of his daughter and the child who is likely to be adopted shortly.

The court also refused to show any leniency towards the convict saying that he did not show any remorse for his "disgraceful" act during the trial and even after conviction.
"Rather, he shamelessly raised the plea with regard to the consent of the victim, his biological daughter. The DNA report showing that he was 100 per cent father of the child had nailed his lie," the court noted.

An FIR was lodged by the mother of the victim on April 25, 2006 at Kanjhawala police station alleging that her husband Sant Ram had raped their daughter.
During trial, the victim stood firm on her statement given to police and testified that her father had been raping her since she was 10-year-old and in the absence of her her mother he treated her like his wife.

The court in its judgement noted that the convict had taken advantage of a "helpless and defenceless child" who may have even not understood the gravity of the offence or try to escape and was an easy and vulnerable prey.

"She must have undergone immense physical pain and agony when the offence was committed. Inspite of the tender age (15 to 16) of the child, the convict went on to commit the ghastly, abominable, inhuman and barbaric act of rape, violating the person of the child and giving her a lifelong trauma," the judge said, pointing out the plight of the victim.

The court termed the incest perpetrated by parents of either sex against children of either sex as "the worst form of child abuse" and stressed on the need to examine such cases on different parameters particularly at the stage of investigations and prosecution.
"Incestuous conduct is never consensual. Instead it is rooted in physical force as well as familiar and other power which the abuser uses to pressurise his victim. There is a tendency of the family members to keep quiet in such cases so that there is no interference with the family values," it said.
The court, which had also held Sant Ram guilty of criminal intimidation, imposed a separate sentence of two years' jail term with a fine of Rs 1,000, which would, however, run concurrently with the life term.

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