A 70-year-old man, who raped a minor girl and then gifted her Rs3 to eat chocolates, will have to undergo ten years rigorous imprisonment, ruled the Bombay high court on Monday.
Justice RC Chavan upheld the sentence handed down to Bhimrao Gaikwad and rejected his plea seeking leniency on the grounds of his age by observing, “The appellant (Gaikwad) is not so old that he cannot commit the sexual act. There is also no medical evidence to prove otherwise.”
The court though set aside the conviction handed to Gaikwad under section 506 (criminal intimidation) noting that the trial court had erred in finding him guilty. The victim in her statement had not mentioned any threat given by the accused.
According to the prosecution, the accused and the victim were neighbours and on May 30, 2005, Gaikwad had called the six-year-old girl to his hut on the pretext of asking her to buy some bidis. When the girl came inside, the accused raped her.
The victim later informed her mother about the incident who lodged a police complaint. Initially, the police registered a case under section 354 and 506. The charge was, however, changed to rape after the police received the medical report of the victim.
The accused was arrested and the prosecution examined five witnesses during the trial to prove the guilt of the accused. The accused was pronounced guilty on October 4, 2008. The accused then challenged this order in the high court.
The defence advocate argued that the accused was falsely implicated as the victim’s mother and the accused had an argument a few days before the incident.
Additional public prosecutor Rajeshree Gadhvi opposed this contention saying, “The appellant would not level such a grave charge only because of a quarrel and spoil her minor daughter’s life to take revenge.”
The court agreed with the prosecution and observed that, “If the family of the victim wanted to falsely implicate the accused, they would not have waited for the medical report to level the charge of rape.”
The defence also prayed for setting aside the conviction on the ground that there was no independent witness examined by the prosecution. Gadhvi opposed this argument by saying, “It was not necessary for getting any corroborative evidence as the victim’s word was enough.”
Seeking to uphold the sentence, Gadhvi said, “The accused had committed a heinous crime on a minor and deserves no relief.”
The court agreed with the prosecution and upheld the sentence. The accused has already undergone around seven years of imprisonment. He was 63-years-old at the time of his arrest (2005).