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Man sentenced to 30 years in jail for raping 7-year-old girl in Madhya Pradesh temple

The victim's grandmother filed an FIR against the 40-year-old man at the time of the crime, accusing him of kidnapping and raping the minor. The convict took the victim to a temple where he committed the heinous act.

Man sentenced to 30 years in jail for raping 7-year-old girl in Madhya Pradesh temple snt
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First Published Feb 6, 2024, 12:18 PM IST

The Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a man who raped a seven-year-old girl in a temple in Madhya Pradesh in 2018, sentencing him to 30 years in jail. The court strongly denounced his actions as barbaric.

The victim's grandmother filed an FIR against the 40-year-old man at the time of the crime, accusing him of kidnapping and raping the minor. The convict took the victim to a temple where he committed the heinous act.

Initially, the trial court handed down the death penalty to the man under Section 376 AB of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with rape of a woman under 12 years of age. However, the Madhya Pradesh High Court later commuted the sentence to life imprisonment for the remainder of the convict's natural life.

In considering the petitioner's current age and his previous time served in incarceration, a bench comprising Justices C T Ravikumar and Rajesh Bindal modified his sentence.

Alongside altering the sentence, the Supreme Court imposed a fine of ₹1 lakh on the convict. The court also acknowledged the potential lasting trauma for the victim, emphasizing that every visit to any temple could serve as a reminder of the unfortunate and barbaric ordeal she endured.

"It is noted that if the victim is religious, every visit to any temple may hark back to her the unfortunate, barbaric action to which she was subjected to. So also, the incident may haunt her and adversely impact her future married life," the bench said.

"Then, we are also to take into account the present age of the petitioner and the fact that he has already undergone incarceration. On consideration of all such aspects, we are of the considered view that a fixed term of sentence of 30 years, which shall include the period already undergone, must be the modified sentence of imprisonment," the bench said.

The Supreme Court remarked that the High Court overlooked the absence of separate sentences for the offense under the POCSO Act, despite the man's conviction under Section 376 (2) (i) and sections of the POCSO Act by the trial court. This omission occurred because the trial court had already imposed the capital sentence on him.

"In terms of the provisions under Section 376 AB, IPC, when a sentence of imprisonment for a term not less than 20 years which may extend up to life imprisonment is imposed, the convict is also liable to suffer a sentence of fine which shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim which we quantify as ₹ 1 lakh and the same shall be paid to the victim," the bench said.

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