Unnao Rape Case: Here Are the Key Highlights From the Judgment
Women at The Quint read the key highlights from the Unnao Rape Case judgement.
Camera: Shiv Kumar
Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan, Deepthi Ramdas
Delhi’s Tis Hazari Court sentenced ex-BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar to life imprisonment on Friday, 20 December.
On Monday, Sengar was convicted by a Delhi trial court for the rape of a minor woman in Unnao in 2017. Judge Dharmesh Sharma pronounced the verdict to a packed courtroom at the Tis Hazari courthouse, with the survivor’s mother present.
The court also criticised CBI for delaying the charge sheet and for its ‘patriarchal’ approach. In the video here, women at The Quint read out key highlights from the judgment.
Sengar has been convicted under Section 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code, read with Section 5 (aggravated penetrative sexual assault of a child) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), as the court found the girl had been a minor at the time of the offence.
Sengar’s co-accused, Shashi Singh, was acquitted after the judge decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. Singh was alleged to have brought the girl to Sengar’s house.
The survivor’s testimony has been “unblemished, truthful and has been proved to be of sterling quality”.
She and other witnesses from her family described how Sengar threatened to harm her and her family if she made a complaint, threats which were borne out by how the survivor’s uncle and father were taken into custody the moment she reported the crime.
The case makes evident the many restrictions and taboos which surround women in rural areas. It epitomises fear instilled in the mind of young women against reporting sexual assault by powerful adults.
The investigation had suffered from a patriarchal approach or, the inherent outlook to brush the issue of sexual violence against children under the carpet, by exhibiting a lack of sensitivity and a humane approach.
According to the POCSO Act, there should be female officers in CBI to record the statement of victims in such cases, but surprisingly, the woman was called many times to CBI’s office instead of (them) going to her residence, without bothering about the kind of harassment, anguish and re-victimisation that a victim of sexual assault case experiences.
Vital information concerning witnesses’ statement was selectively leaked as an attempt to put a cloud over the case of the survivor.
It is also clear from the police report that almost the entire investigation had been completed by the end of July 2018. What prevented the CBI from filing the charge sheet? It was done belatedly on 3 October 2019 after almost a year.
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