SC slams rapist teacher, explores truce with victim

The apex court, however, strongly castigated the convict saying he was unfit to hold the post of a teacher which is a noble profession. "What has happened has happened. There is no point in sending him to jail. Let us see," the Bench said while asking the convict K P Thimmappa Gowda and the State Government's response on the transfer of land.

Under Section 376 IPC(rape) the minimum sentence is seven years and the maximum punishment could go upto life imprisonment, but there is no provision under the Criminal Procedure Code for letting off a rapist by way of fine.

The apex court rejected the argument of the convict that it was not a rape but a case of consensual sex. "Even if it was a case of consensus, having sex with the false promise of marriage amounts to rape," a Bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and T S Thakur observed.

Gowda had moved the apex court on an appeal challenging the seven year sentence imposed on him by the Karnataka High Court in 2004 which convicted him after setting aside the acquittal order of the Sessions Court in Shimoga.

The case of the prosecution was that Gowda, a government school teacher in Nayamathi Taluk of Shimoga district sexually exploited the victim who was working in the agricultural fields of his brother. He is said to have exploited her despite being already married and having two children from his first wife. The convict also had a child from the victim.

After the matter reached the elders of the village, the Panchayat directed Gowda to marry her but he rejected the directive. He was subsequently prosecuted for rape, but the sessions court acquitted him, though the High Court on an appeal from the State sentenced him to seven years imprisonment.

The apex court rejected Gowda's plea that he was innocent and if his sentence was not stayed he would lose his teacher's job. "What kind of a rapist teacher you are. As a teacher you should be role model. You don't deserve to be a teacher, you should lose your job.

"Even the students will laugh at you. If you had made her pregnant you should have married her. You did not even follow the Panchayat's directive," the Bench observed. However, counsel for the convict repeatedly pleaded that Gowda stands to lose his job if his conviction was sustained and offered to transfer his land to the victim to ensure that she had sufficient means of livelihood.

The apex court relented and said it would consider the case at a later stage and asked the convict and the Karnataka Government to examine whether there was a possibility of the land being transferred to the victim and adjourned the matter.

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