Bombay High Court upholds conviction of 20 rape accused

The Bombay High Court upheld the conviction of 20 accused in the rape case of a 16-year-old school student who was allegedly drugged by her neighbour, sexually assaulted and forced into prostitution.

"The law takes a stern view in crimes concerning rape not only for the reason of physical harm that it causes to a woman but also for the victim being left destitute to suffer lifelong mental trauma," Justices U D Salvi and A H Joshi said in their order on February 4.

Sentencing them to a 10-year jail sentence, the court did not accept the accused's version that they presumed the girl to be a sex worker and were unaware of her age. However, four of them were sent to jail for eight years because of their young age.

One of the convicts, Chetan Bhalgat, married her in May 2011 after he was found guilty. He pleaded for a lighter sentence saying he had given her Rs 21 lakh cash as well as property. Reducing his sentence from 10 to eight years, judges said, "The genesis of culpability of the accused did not spring from insanity of a lover but was plain lust supported by pecuniary ability, namely, he could pay for what he craved."

Juvenile guilty of rape to take care of cow-shed

REWARI: A juvenile, guilty of raping a minor girl in 2007, has been asked by the Justice Juvenile Board to take care of animals at a cow-shed for six months and to get attendance marked daily.

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