The Kerala High Court, on Friday, held that sentences awarded in rape cases should neither be too lenient nor disproportionately severe.

Justice T.R. Ramachandran Nair and Justice A.V. Ramakrishna Pillai, of the Division Bench dealing with cases of offences against women, made the observation while upholding the life imprisonment awarded by the Additional Sessions Court (Fast Track), Thiruvananthapuram, to the father and cousin of a minor girl for raping her.

The Bench observed that a lenient sentence would have no deterrent value. The courts had the duty to guard themselves against giving too lenient or disproportionately severe sentences and should strike a proper balance between the two.

The Bench said the courts should independently evaluate the evidence in rape cases. Even medical evidence need not be essential if it was not forthcoming.

In the present case, the fifth standard student was raped by her father and her cousin in 2003.

The Bench rejected the contention of the accused that there was considerable delay in revealing the rape. It was well settled that corroboration was not a sine qua non for conviction in rape cases.

The Bench said the lower court had entered correct findings based on legal evidence revealing the monstrous conduct of persons who should have been the saviours of the girl. The court dismissed the appeal filed by the accused.

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