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A Delhi court has sentenced a man to two years in jail for sexually assaulting a 50-year-old blind woman, saying he committed a "vile act" that "shredded" her dignity.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on 63-year-old Ramphal, a florist at the Kalkaji temple in south Delhi, with a direction that it be paid to the victim as compensation.
"The convict has committed a vile act of outraging the modesty of the prosecutrix, a blind lady," Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain said yesterday.
While it was true that the convict was 63 and had a family to support, "we must see the plight of the victim whose modesty was outraged which is universally considered to be amongst the most morally and physically reprehensible crimes in society," it said.
"Her dignity is shredded," he said, adding that the assault was on the "body, mind, privacy and entire fabric of the victim".
Rejecting the contention of the florist that he was falsely implicated by the woman, the court said there was a stigma attached to sexual assault in Indian society and a victim "would never falsely rope someone in" for blackmail.
A sexual assault causes "humiliation, disgust, tremendous embarrassment, a sense of shame, trauma and a lifelong emotional scar" in a victim. So it was "most unlikely" that she would name someone falsely for sexual assault.
"An Indian woman traditionally will not concoct an untruthful story and bring charges of sexual assault for the purpose of blackmail, hatred, spite or revenge. A woman's complaint that she has been molested must be taken at face value in a conservative society like India where an indelible stigma is attached to the victim," the court said.
The court also directed that adequate compensation be paid to the victim by the Delhi Legal Service Authority (south Delhi).
The court, while convicting the accused, relied on the testimony of the woman and said it was of "sterling worth".
According to the prosecution, the incident took place in 2014 when Ramphal sexually assaulted the complainant, a beggar who lived with her daughter in a dharamshala.
The police had chargesheeted him for rape and sexual assault under the Indian Penal Code.
The court, however, acquitted him of the rape charge as it could not be proved because of lack of evidence.
The convict had sought leniency on the grounds that he was poor, did not have criminal antecedents and had to take care of his family.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)