A man held guilty of molesting a girl in a bus has been spared a jail term by a Delhi court which said though such offences are on the rise, yet it would be 'traumatic' and 'stigmatic' for the growing up daughters of the convict if he was put behind the bars.
Additional Sessions Judge Lokesh Kumar Sharma set aside the jail term of 18 months awarded to the convict by a magisterial court and sentenced him to 12 days imprisonment already undergone by him earlier.
The court said if Deepak is sent to jail, it would be stigmatic for his two daughters, aged 10 and 8 years, as the society would not spare them for the acts and misdeeds of their father.
"....I am of the considered opinion that if the appellant (Deepak) is sent to custody at this stage, then it shall not only be traumatic but shall also be stigmatic for his growing up daughters as well and the society will not spare them for the acts and misdeeds of their father and such an environment would surely hamper their natural growth and development and would prevent them from becoming a fruitful part of the society," it said.
"Undoubtedly, the offence which has been committed by the appellant is a heinous one in nature. As such offences being committed against the women and minor girls are on high rise in the capital these days," the court said.
The court, however, said he cannot be allowed to go scot- free and the punishment in the form of imposition of an extra financial burden would be a greater deterrent rather than putting him behind the bars where he would be enjoying a carefree life at the State's expense.
It upheld the fine amount of Rs 8,000 imposed on Deepak, a resident of Govindpuri here, by the magistrate and directed him to pay Rs 40,000 to the victim as compensation for the trauma which she had undergone due to incident in question which was completely overlooked by the trial court.
According to the police, the incident took place in January 2012, when the girl, a Delhi University student, was returning in a crowded bus from Rao Tula Ram Marg near Hanuman Mandir here to her house in Dwarka.
She noticed that Deepak, who was standing behind her, was doing some indecent act and she caught hold of him and raised an alarm, it said.
The man was caught by people travelling in the bus and was beaten up. He was later handed over to the police.
Deepak, a vegetable seller, approached the sessions court challenging the conviction and sentence awarded by the trial court and sought leniency on the ground that he did not have a criminal record and was the sole bread earner of his family.
The court, in its order, said the convict should be given a chance to reform himself.
"No doubt that keeping in view the steep rise in the crime of this nature in the recent times, the need of the hour is to deal with them firmly to send a deterring message to the society.
"Simultaneously, the courts should also consider the fact that our criminal justice administration system besides being punitive is also reformatory in nature and a person who is a first offender deserves at least one opportunity to reform himself," it said.