Commenting on the Horrific Impact of Sexual Offences on the Society, Bombay HC Confirms Death Sentence of a Rape Convict



Commenting on the Horrific Impact of Sexual Offences on the Society, Bombay HC Confirms Death Sentence of a Rape Convict

Mumbai: On Thursday, December 20, the Bombay High Court confirmed the death sentence awarded to convict, Chandrabhan Sanap accused of rape and murder of a 23-year-old software engineer.

While pronouncing the Judgement, the Division bench comprising Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre commented on the severe impact of sexual offences on the society,

“Rape has always been looked upon as a crime to be ranked alongside murder in terms of seriousness because of the violence and the violation it involves. The way in which a Society protects its victims of crime is a barometer of that society’s standards of human dignity and decency. When a woman in a society is raped, it is not only she who is subjected to rape but it is the tendency that is reflected to overpower, to violate and to crash the dignity of the entire women creed in the society”.

The matter pertains to a software engineer working for TCS in Goregaon, residing at YMCA in Andheri. On account of leave in December, she had gone to her hometown in Andhra Pradesh to visit her parents. Boarding a train on January 4, 2014, she was scheduled to reach the LTT, Kurla station on January 5. Thereafter despite repeated attempts, the victim’s father was unable to trace and contact her, following which he arrived in Mumbai and filed a missing report at the Vijayawada Railway Police Station.

On January 16, 2014, the victim’s body was discovered in a burnt and decomposed state near the Eastern Express Highway in the bushes. The father identified his daughter’s body through her belongings.

Subsequently, a probe was conducted by the Crime Branch, Mumbai, who extracted CCTV footage from the LTT station. The recovered footage showed the victim talking on the phone, whereas the accused, wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans, was noticed dragging her trolley bag.

In October 2015, the Additional Sessions Judge convicted the accused under multiple Sections of the IPC, following which the accused was sentenced to death and a fine of Rs. 50,000 which was directed to be paid to the victim's parents. Subsequently, the matter was placed before the Division bench for ascertain the sentence awarded to the accused. The hearing for confirmation of the sentence was tagged along with the convict’s appeal against the order of the Sessions Court.

Appearing on behalf of the convict, Advocate Nitin Pradhan claimed that the prosecution had failed to prove the guilt of accused beyond reasonable doubt. He further stated that although a grave and horrific crime was committed, it is imperative that the prosecution provides for factual and substantial evidence to support the allegations against the accused. These contentions were raised by Advocate Pradhan as the entire case was built on circumstantial evidence and whereas, there was no evidence to support the prosecution’s claim that the victim was abducted, raped and murdered by the accused.

In response, SPP Advocate Raja Thakare submitted reference of the post-mortem reports which distinctly stated that the victim was submitted to involuntary and forcible sexual intercourse and thereafter killed by causing strangulation and head injury. The report categorically stated that the victim succumbed to her genitals and head injuries. Furthermore, SPP mentioned the testimonies of its 39 witnesses including two crucial submissions by Shivkaran Chhotelal Patel who runs a Canteen at Kurla Terminus Railway Station and Ramesh Rathod, a taxi driver who was present at the taxi stand in LTT on January 5. The two key witnesses had earlier given a description of the accused and later in support of their claims, identified Chandrabhan during an identification parade conducted by the police.

Although Chandrabhan pleaded not guilty before the Court, he had narrated the entire ordeal to his acquaintance, Nand Kishore and confessed his guilt. Kishore mentioned that the accused was under the influence of alcohol and Chandrabhan had also accepted that after raping the victim, when she tried seeking help, he strangulated her to death.

Confirming the death sentence, the bench observed,

“Such a person would surely remain a menace to the Society and in this backdrop, we are of the firm view that there are no extraneous mitigating circumstances available on record which may justify imposition of sentence less than a death sentence which the learned Sessions Court has imposed”.

 

Bombay High Court
Death sentence
Rape Case

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