Supreme Court Imposes 30-Year Sentence for Rape of Minor in Temple

In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court has sentenced a man to 30 years in prison for the rape of a seven-year-old girl within the confines of a temple in Madhya Pradesh, an incident dating back to 2018. The court described the crime as “barbaric” and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the convict, emphasizing the severe impact such an event may have on the young victim’s psyche and future.

The case came to light when the victim’s grandmother filed an FIR, accusing the then 40-year-old man of kidnapping and raping her granddaughter. Initially, the trial court handed down a capital punishment verdict under Section 376 AB of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with rape of girls under 12 years of age. However, this sentence was later commuted by the Madhya Pradesh High Court to life imprisonment for the remainder of the convict’s natural life.

Upon review, the Supreme Court bench, comprising Justices C T Ravikumar and Rajesh Bindal, considered the convict’s current age and the time already served. They decided that a fixed sentence of 30 years, inclusive of time served, was appropriate given the circumstances. The court also noted the potential long-term trauma for the victim, stating that any future visits to temples could tragically remind her of the assault, potentially affecting her deeply and even impacting her future married life.

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Furthermore, the apex court pointed out an oversight by the High Court in not imposing separate sentences for convictions under Section 376 (2) (i) and relevant sections of the POCSO Act, given the initial imposition of a capital sentence. 

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