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Delhi HC upholds 20-year RI awarded to two men for raping mentally disabled woman

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Delhi High Court has upheld 20 years of rigorous imprisonment awarded to two men by a trial court for gang-raping a mentally disabled woman, saying there was no reason to disbelieve the victim's testimony in the case.

Dismissing the appeal of the two convicts on Thursday, Justice R K Gauba said there was no merit in it.

The court said the prosecutrix (woman), who was 22 years old at the time of the incident, may be suffering from low intelligence quotient but her in-built sense to distinguish ill-intentioned physical contact from good-intentioned one could not be ignored.

The victim, who was married for two years, may have possibly been exposed to physical intimacy during her short period of cohabitation with her husband, it added.

The court upheld the trial court's judgement convicting Delhi residents Saurabh and Sandeep for the offences of raping a woman who was incapable of giving consent, kidnapping and hurting her; and sentencing each of them to 20 years rigorous imprisonment.

It endorsed the trial court's conclusion that the woman's competence to appear as a witness cannot be questioned, notwithstanding the fact that she suffered from moderate intellectual disability, as she was able to comprehend the questions put to her.

The high court said there was no reason to assume that the woman may have imagined the sequence of events and implicated the men.

"In the absence of any evidence showing the possibility of false implication for ulterior motive, there being no theory of previous enmity, the argument that the woman has falsely implicated the two men at the instance of her mother does not appeal to reason," it said.

The court said there was a ring of truth around the woman's testimony when she deposed about the acts committed by the convicts against her body.

"The trial court has adopted the punishment prescribed as minimum for offences... The punishments awarded for the said and other offences, being just, proper and commensurate, are confirmed," it added.

According to the prosecution, the incident took place on March 17, 2017, when the woman went out of her house and lost her way. She came across Saurabh and Sandeep who kidnapped her and took her to a park where they took turns to rape her.

When the woman informed her mother about the incident, she lodged a police complaint and the two men were arrested.

During the trial, the two men denied the evidence against them. They claimed they were being falsely implicated and the woman had deposed falsely.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, August 23 2019. 20:40 IST