Nothing more obscene, barbaric than child rape: Punjab & Haryana High Court on rape, murder of 9-year-old girl

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While upholding the conviction of a man for raping and murdering a 9-year-old girl, the Punjab & Haryana High Court recently observed that child rape cases are worst form of lust for sex, where even children of tender age are not spared in the pursuit of sexual pleasure [Manoj Kumar v. State of Haryana].

Noting that there cannot be anything more obscene, diabolical and barbaric than child rape, a Bench of Justices Sureshwar Thakur and NS Shekhawat said,

“The child rape cases are the cases of worst form of lust for sex, where children of tender age are not even spared in the pursuit of sexual pleasure. There cannot be anything more obscene, diabolical and barbaric than this. It is a crime not only against the society, but against the entire humanity. Many of such cases are not brought to the light because of the fact that the social stigma is attached thereto.”

In light of a steep rise in child rape cases according to some surveys, it was incumbent upon courts to provide protection to victims, it added.

“According to some surveys, there has been a steep rise in the child rape cases. The children need more care and protection not only by the parents and guardians, but also by the Courts and society at large. The children are natural resource of our country and are also country’s future.”

The appellant moved the High Court challenging judgments passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Palwal in 2012, whereby he was held guilty and awarded the life sentence for rape, murder and other offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

A First Information Report (FIR) was registered after the father of the victim alleged that the appellant kidnapped his minor daughter and fled on his bicycle, as witnessed by the brother of the victim. The child was untraceable until the next morning, when she was found dead in a field.

The FIR also stated that after being arrested, the appellant disclosed to the police that he had kept concealed a bag in the corner of the field of maize and parked his bicycle on the Railway Station, Palwal, which was used in the commission of offence.

Counsel for the appellant had vehemently contended that the entire prosecution case was based on hearsay evidence, and that the witnesses were interested parties.

Countering this argument, the Court said that that the testimonies of the witnesses (father and brother) could never be rejected on the ground that they were closely related to the victim.

“In fact, PW-3 Manish was the most natural witness and the appellant was known to him. Even he was the brother of the victim and his presence near the place of occurrence was natural. Still further, even he was subjected to cross-examination and his testimony was found worthy of placing reliance and was consistent. Still further, no reason for falsely implicating the appellant or any ill-will on the part of the said witnesses has been suggested to both the prosecution witnesses i.e. PW-2 Sunil and PW-3 Manish,” the order stated.

The testimonies of the father and the brother of the victim did not suffer from any infirmity, and the trial court had correctly placed reliance on their testimonies, which were duly corroborated by the other prosecution evidence, the Bench noted.

It also rejected the alibi of the appellant, noting that the defence had miserably failed to prove the same.

“At this stage, it is observed that taking of a false defence by the appellant would also serve as an additional link in the chain of circumstances, which unerringly established the guilt of the appellant beyond any doubt.”

The appellant was represented by Advocate Rahul Vats, while the prosecution was represented by Advocate Anmol Malik.

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