The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh recently upheld the conviction and life imprisonment awarded to a man for the rape his one-year-old granddaughter in 2011 [Bodh Raj V/s State of Jammu and Kashmir & Ors].
The case also led Justices Sanjay Dhar and Rajesh Sekhri to express anguish that respect for women is on a steep decline.
Nothing has improved even after the 2012 “Nirbhaya” case, in which a woman was gang raped and killed by a group of men in a moving bus in Delhi, the Court lamented.
“Nothing has improved even after more than a decade of “Nirbhaya”. Women also have the right to life and liberty. They also have the right to be respected and treated as equal citizens. Their honour and dignity cannot be touched or violated. Women, in them, have many personalities combined. They are not playthings,” the Court said.
The bench added that crimes against women, particularly rape, have been on the increase as of late.
“It is unfortunate that respect for woman in our country is on steep decline. Of late, cases relating to molestation, outraging of modesty and rape are on the rise day by day. Decency, morality and moral values of the Indian society, which we treasured and were proud of, appear to have vanished,” the Court remarked.
The Court further opined that it is a blot on society and a sad reflection of societal indifferent to the violation of human dignity of victims in sex crimes.
Therefore, courts shoulder a great responsibility while trying an accused on charges of rape, the Court added.
Referring to the case at hand, the Court remarked,
“Shiver runs down the spine to know that a maternal grandfather has gratified his animated passion and sexual lust by ravishing his one year old granddaughter.”
The High Court was hearing an appeal filed by one Bodh Raj who had challenged his 2013 conviction by a trial court under Section 376 (2) (f) of the Ranbir Penal Code, which punishes rape of a child less than 12 years old.
Raj was alleged to have fled from a room where the one-year-old child was found bleeding and crying.
On a medical examination, a doctor said that the child’s hymen had been torn and that there were fresh injuries on her genitals.
The doctor opined that it could be a case of sexual assault, although other possibilities could not be ruled out.
On this aspect, the Court observed that rape cannot be diagnosed by a doctor.
“A medical expert treating a rape survivor can only certify about any evidence of recent sexual activity. It is none of his business to opine whether rape is committed or not. Rape is a judicial determination,” the Court said.
Raj, meanwhile, contended that he had been falsely implicated owing to old animosity between him and the complainant. He also argued that there was no motive to commit such a crime.
The High Court rejected his arguments, more so since it found that the star witness in the case had given a convincing account of the incident.
The need for a motive loses importance in a case where direct evidence of eyewitness is available, the Court observed.
The Court added that in sexual offences, it is sexual lust and a perverted brain that would be the motive to drive a man to such sexual brutality, while a saner person may not even think of violating the modesty of his one-year-old granddaughter.
The Court ultimately found that the prosecution had proved its case against Raj.
“The offence committed by the appellant is gruesome, which normal human being would not even think of,” the High Court concluded while dismissing the appeal.
Source: Bar & Bench