“It is an individual that commits the crime. Society or the system or the Internet cannot be blamed, to take a lenient view. This aspect is very important when the offence is that of rape,” said Principle Sessions judge Shalini Phalsankar-Joshi on Friday.
She rejected the plea of the four persons convicted for the gang rape of a telephone operator at Shakti Mills — Vijay Jadhav, Qasim Sheikh alias Bengali, Salim Ansari and Mohammad Ashfak Shaikh — that their socioeconomic backgrounds be taken into account.
“Offence of rape is serious and brutal. It violates the victim and society at large. It is a violation of the fundamental Right to Life guaranteed by our Constitution. The offence of rape is a trauma and agony with which the victim will have to live throughout her life,” Ms. Phansalkar-Joshi observed while dictating the order on the quantum of sentence against the four convict.
Arguing his case for maximum penalty, special public prosecutor ujjwal nikam told the court: “There are no grounds to justify that these accused can be reformed. They are demons in human form,” Mr. Nikam said. “They referred to the victim as maal [object] as if the young girl was a property that could be looted. The have left the victim in a vegetative state of mind. She suffers from post trauma stress,” added Mr. Nikam.
Reacting to the sentence, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said: “After the Nirbhaya episode, the State government resolved to prevent such crimes against women. This case will serve as a deterrent and restrain others from committing such offences.”
On Thursday, the court had convicted five persons including Siraj Sheikh — one minor is being tried by the Juvenile Justice Court — in two gang rape cases involving a telephone operator and a photojournalist at Shakti Mills last year. Of the five, Jadhav, Bengali and Ansari were involved in both the cases.