A division bench of Justices CT Ravikumar and Rajesh Bindal of the Supreme Court sentenced a man to 30 years of rigorous imprisonment for raping a 7-year-old girl in the temple.
The crime was deemed barbaric by the Court and would have a lasting impact on the survivor during temple visits.
The bench observed that “The petitioner-convict took the victim to a temple, unmindful of the holiness of the place disrobed her and himself and then committed the crime. We have no hesitation to hold that the fact he had not done it brutally will not make its commission non-barbaric”.
The occurrence under review transpired in 2018 when the grandmother of the survivor filed a criminal complaint against the accused, who was then 40 years of age.
In the trial, the accused was convicted and awarded the death penalty.
The Madhya Pradesh High Court subsequently upheld the conviction but commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. After which the accused challenged this decision before the Supreme Court, which upheld the conviction but modified the sentence.
The bench said “The evidence would reveal that unmindful of the holiness of the place he disrobed her and himself and raped her. When such an act was done by the petitioner, who was then aged 40 years and X who was then aged only 7 years and … blood was found oozing from the private parts of the disrobed child”.
The Court highlighted that the High Court did not levy distinct sentences for crimes committed under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and had not directed payment of a fine towards the rehabilitation of the victim.
The bench while imposing a fine of Rs 1 lakh said, “In terms of the provisions under Section 376 AB, IPC when a sentence of imprisonment for a term not less than 20 years which may extend upto life imprisonment is imposed, the convict is also liable to suffer a sentence of fine which shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim”.