New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has upheld the conviction of and life sentence awarded to a man for raping a minor girl, saying “child rape is inexcusable” and “no leniency or mercy can be shown” to one who commits such a crime. While upholding the March 2004 decision of a trial court to imprison the man for life, a bench of Justices S P Garg and C Hari Shankar observed that child rape was “an offence less of passion and more of power”. The court said that while rape was an anathema, but when it was perpetrated on a minor, it showed the “depravity” ingrained in the psyche of the perpetrator and such persons did not deserve any leniency in law or the right to cohabit in society with others.
The bench further said that “child rape was the ultimate indicator of the reality, often unnoticed, that rape is an offence less of passion and more of power”. According to the prosecution, the incident occurred on the night of August 16, 2000, when Mehto raped the minor girl while her siblings and father were sleeping.
The then 10-year-old girl in her testimony had said that the convict first raped her inside her room and then took her to the roof of his house where he again sexually assaulted her. Thereafter, he had threatened to kill her if she told anyone about the incident, the girl had testified. However, on the next day she had told some women of her neighbourhood who had then called the police.