Chandigarh court sentences two to life in 2016 auto-rickshaw gangrape case

The 21-year-old girl was gangraped by the two convicts in a secluded area in Sector 29 in December 2016. She was returning home from work in a shared auto which Irfan was driving while Kamal was sitting as a passenger.

The Additional District and Sessions Court of Chandigarh on Wednesday sentenced two convicts to life imprisonment till the remainder of natural life for raping a 21-year-old girl in 2016.

The convicts — Mohammad Irfan and Kamal Hassan — pleaded for leniency. Irfan pleaded that he has four children and is the only earning member of the family, and that he has also filed an appeal in the High Court against his previous conviction in gangrape case. Hassan pleaded that he has three children and old parents to look after, and that he is the only bread-earner of his family.

Pronouncing the quantum of sentence, the court of ADJ Poonam R Joshi observed that “…two strong built boys have raped helpless girl who had shown her faith in the public convenience i.e the auto…”

Public Prosecutor Jagmohan Singh argued that the accused have gangraped the victim, who had used public transport thinking that she will reach her destination safely, but the act of the accused has “shaken society”. The prosecutor pleaded that since Ifran was also convicted in a previous gangrape case, he should be given the death penalty.

After hearing the arguments the court held, “Chandigarh has become an unsafe city for girls and major incidences of molestation and rape have risen in the city. Girls feel unsafe to roam about freely in the city…Among the Union Territories, Chandigarh has reported 164 cases of sexual offences, out of which 78 were rape cases in a single year. This data is just the tip of an iceberg as many cases still go unreported as the girls fear the blot to their honour in reporting the cases…The rapist degrades the very soul of the helpless victim and leaves behind traumatic experience…,” read the judgment.

The court further observed, “Both the accused are married and have children of their own. Despite that they have ravished a young girl to such an extent that she has lost faith in society and would obviously fear coming out or talking to any male person. Such a criminal should be dealt with sternly and no leniency can be shown towards them.”

The court then held that although Mohammad Irfan is a convict in another case and has been chargesheeted under section 376 E, the present offence does not fall in the rarest of the rare case. Thus Irfan was sentenced to life imprisonment under section 376 D (gangrape) read with 376 E (punishment for repeat offenders) of the Indian Penal Code, while his accomplice Kamal Hassan has been sentenced to life imprisonment under section 376 D of the IPC. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 3 lakh on Mohammad Irfan, and Rs 2 lakh fine on Kamal Hassan, which shall be paid to the victim.

The 21-year-old girl was gangraped by the two convicts in a secluded area in Sector 29 in December 2016. She was returning home from work in a shared auto which Irfan was driving while Kamal was sitting as a passenger. The accused then took the auto to a jungle area, where they gangraped her at knifepoint.

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