In a first, Bombay High Court’s Nagpur bench gave a rare double-death and double-life sentence
to a 21-year-old man for the rape and murder of a two-year-old girl.
The sentence was given under Section 376A of the Indian Penal Code, under an amendment made in light of the December 16 gangrape case.
The accused took the two-year-old victim, who belonged to a poor family of laborers from Andhra Pradesh, to a construction site from her house when nobody was at home. Then he raped her and also tore the flesh off her body with his teeth. Her parents, who had been searching for her, found her with the accused, who was attempting to escape. The girl died on the spot. Besides capital punishment under Section 376A, the accused was awarded another death sentence under Section 302 of IPC for murder by the Yavatmal court. He was also sentenced to two life terms under Section 376 (2) (f) (i) (m) (rape) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) 2012.
The high court also turned down the accused’s contention for leniency considering his young age, categorizing the case as “rarest of rare”.
Yavatmal sessions court judge AC Chaphale on August 14 sentenced the accused to death on two counts under the amended Section 376 of IPC.
After hearing testimonies of 13 witnesses, the trial court also awarded him a rare double life sentence while tersely observing that the accused would continue to be a menace to the society.
The new definition of the amended Section 376A states: Whoever, commits an offence punishable under sub-section (1) or subsection (2) of Section 376, and in the course of such commission, inflicts an injury which causes the death of a woman or causes the woman to be in a persistent vegetative state, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 20 years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, or with death.