Local court sentences 20-yr-old to life in prison for raping minor niece

A Chandigarh court on Monday sentenced a 20-year old man to lifetime imprisonment for allegedly repeatedly sexually assaulting his 12-year-old niece in early 2012. The sentence has been handed in less than two months of the case being referred to the court. The accused, Rahul, a resident of Uttar Pradesh who was working at a petrol pump has also been fined Rs 21, 000.

Stating that courts need to deal with cases of sexual crimes against women with utmost sensitivity, District and Sessions Judge S K Aggarwal has pronounced in the order that: "sexual violence, apart from being a dehumanising act, is an unlawful intrusion on the right to privacy and sanctity of a woman. It is a serious blow to her supreme honour and offends her self-esteem and dignity."

The court also refused to show any leniency despite the offender being the sole bread winner of his family. "Keeping in view the nature of offence and the fact that he has committed rape of a girl, who happens to be his niece, no leniency can be shown," the court ruled.

Rahul allegedly began raping his niece in January 2012 when she was alone at home. He then committed the crime several times on the Class VII student. The girl did not disclose it to anyone in her family.

On August 11, 2012, however, the victim felt a sudden pain in her abdomen, which prompted her mother to take her to the Mohali civil hospital. Doctors later confirmed that the 12-year-old victim had a miscarriage. She then disclosed that she was raped by Rahul. A DNA test of the foetus allegedly confirmed that Rahul had abused the girl forcing the UT police to register a case. Acting fast, charges were framed on the day the case was referred to Sessions Court from a lower one and all the nine witnesses were heard in two hearings on December 7, 2012, and January 3, 2013, culminating in the accused being sentenced on Monday.

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