The Delhi High Court today upheld the life sentence awarded to a man for enabling sexual assault upon her daughter and said that sexual crimes in a father-daughter relationship descend to depravity and must be dealt with severity.
A bench headed by Justice Siddharth Mridul said that crimes within the closest confines of the family have the “element of sin” and to sexually violate an innocent child, in any case, is an abhorrent act.
The bench, also comprising Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani, observed that the offending acts committed by the prosecutor’s so-called uncle, with the connivance of her own father, went beyond the physical element of sexual assault and caused trauma that might linger for long.
It is evident from the prosecutrix’s stand that her father “consciously and intentionally” gave to the so-called uncle, a co-convict, access to her and also committed upon her acts short of ‘digital penetration’, the bench added.
“This, in our view, is sufficient to bring the actions of the father within the section of the Indian Penal Code that deals with “acts done by several persons in furtherance of a common intention” to commit the offence, and will make him liable for all acts committed by appellant A2 – the uncle – in the same manner as if the acts were done by appellant A1 – the father – himself,” the court said as it upheld the conviction of the father for “unnatural offences” with “common intention” and the sentence of life imprisonment.
“We do not hesitate to repeat, to sexually violate an innocent child is, in any case, an abhorrent act. But, when that happens within the filial father-daughter relationship, of which purity of affection is a sine-qua-non, the act descends to a different depth of depravity. Without at all appearing to be Biblical, crime in society is one thing; but crime within the closest confines of the family, adds to it the element of sin. Such acts must be dealt with the requisite level of severity,” the court said.
The court also upheld the conviction and life imprisonment of the co-convict – the girl’s uncle but also refused to sustain the conviction for the alleged commission of an offence of gang rape.
The father and the uncle, who had appealed against their conviction and sentencing by the trial court, were found guilty on the basis of the depositions of the several prosecution witnesses, in particular the prosecutrix’s own testimony and the medical evidence.