The Delhi High Court has upheld the life term awarded to a man by a trial court for raping his daughter, saying the offence was even more "horrendous and despicable" as it was committed by the one who is viewed as a "shield" or "protector" of her dignity and honour.
A bench of Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said when sanctity of a father-daughter relationship is ravaged "in such a sordid manner" it "shocks the human conscience" as the protector has become the violator.
"The father is considered to be the protector and refuge of his own daughter... No doubt that the offence of rape is grave by its very nature but it is more horrendous and despicable when the perpetrator of the crime is one's own father. A daughter always looks up to her father as a shield of her dignity and honour...
"It shocks human conscience when the sanctity of father and daughter relationship is ravaged in such a sordid manner and the protector becomes the violator... It is the gravest sin, where the most pure relationship is shattered by an extreme pervert and shameful act," the bench said.
The high court dismissed the man's appeal challenging his conviction and the sentence awarded to him for raping his the then 18-year-old daughter in 2017.
The convict had also sought reduction of the sentence to 10 years on the ground that he was 56 years old, belongs to a extremely poor strata of society and has the responsibility of two unmarried sons who are totally dependent upon him.
The high court also rejected his plea for reduction in sentence saying it found no reasons to differ with the findings of the trial court.
The high court also noted in its order that "rape is such a dark reality of the Indian society that devastates a women''s soul, shatters her self-respect and for a few, purges their hope to live.
"It shakes the insight of a woman who once was a "happy person'' and had no clue of being a victim of the said horrifying and terrifying encounter where the daughter had been raped by none else but her own father".
The bench further noted that offences, particularly sexual assaults, against women are on the rise and it was necessary for courts to "imbibe the legislative wisdom and to respect it because rape or an attempt to rape is a crime not against an individual but a crime, which destroys the basic equilibrium of the social atmosphere, as it not only lowers the dignity of a woman but also mars her reputation".
"The torment on the victim has the potentiality to corrode the poise and equanimity of any civilized society. It has been rightly said that whereas a murderer destroys the physical frame of a victim, a rapist degrades and defiles the soul of a helpless female," the high court said.
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