HC upholds life sentence in case of gangrape of telephone operator in Shakti Mills premises

  • | Thursday | 25th November, 2021

Mumbai, Nov 25 (PTI) The Bombay High Court on Thursday upheld the life sentence awarded to a man in the case of the gangrape of a 19-year-old telephone operator inside the abandoned Shakti Mills compound here in 2013.The high court, earlier in the day, commuted to life sentence the death penalty awarded to three convicts in the case of gangrape of a photojournalist in the Shakti Mills compound which had taken place only a month later.As to the rape of the 19-year-old telephone operator, the court held that delay in filing of FIR would not matter considering the attitudes in our society.A division bench of Justices Sadhana Jadhav and Prithiviraj Chavan dismissed the appeal filed by Mohammed Ashfaq Dawood Shaikh against the trial court"s order of March 2014 sentencing him to life imprisonment.As per the prosecution, on July 31, 2013, the appellant and six others gangraped the victim, a telephone operator, after forcibly taking her and her boyfriend inside the premises of the defunct textile mill in central Mumbai.The case came to light after a 22-year-old photojournalist was gangraped by five persons inside the mills compound a month later.During the probe, police realized that a similar crime had taken place in the compound earlier.A total of seven persons, including a minor, were arrested in the two cases.Three accused were common in both the cases. While the trio was awarded death penalty by the trial court, Shaikh and another accused were awarded life imprisonment.Shaikh"s lawyer Anjali Patil had argued that it was a false case that was lodged after a month of the alleged incident.The high court refused to accept this.“In view of our tradition-bound non-permissive society where the reputation and honour of the family of a victim of a sexual assault is at stake, it is not expected that an immediate report would be lodged.“There is no doubt the victim was subjected to the most humiliating, horrendous and embarrassing form of sexual assault by the five accused, that too, in the presence of her boyfriend with whom she was to marry,” the HC said.Evidence given by the victim and her boyfriend was reliable, truthful and inspired full confidence and there was clinching evidence pointing to the guilt of the appellant (Shaikh), the court said.The HC also passed strictures against the state-run J J Hospital for using the “degrading and unscientific archaic two finger test” during the victim"s medical examination.“We hope that the State of Maharashtra would take necessary steps to shun all such unscientific and heavily criticized "two finger test." It appears that the Maharashtra government has formulated some guidelines. We expect and hope that the State will strictly adhere to the same,” the bench said. PTI SP KRK KRK KRK

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