Consent Of Minor Girl Is Immaterial And Not A Mitigating Circumstance For Reducing Sentence In Rape Cases.

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Recently the Delhi High Court on 17th May, 2016 in a very significant case of Raju Kr. Verma v. NCT of Delhi confirmed the conviction and sentence of accused/appellant under section 363/366/376 IPC and rejected his contention that from the letter of the prosecutrix/minor girl, it is apparent that she was a consenting party having an affair with the appellant, and therefore, his sentence should be reduced. The court was of the opinion that the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt that the prosecutrix was of 13 years 9 months of age at the time of incident and accused have allured and enticed her. Thus, her consent was immaterial for the reason that she was a minor.

The Court further observed that, since the consent of the girl below the age of 16 years is immaterial the same cannot be treated as a mitigating circumstance so as to award a sentence lesser than 7 years. However, the court considered that on the facts and circumstances of the case, the sentence of rigorous imprisonment of 10 years for offence punishable U/S- 376 IPC and  rigourous imprisonment for 7 years for offence punishable U/S- 363 and 366 IPC is on the higher side. While disposing of the appeal the court modified the appellant’s sentence to 7 years rigourous imprisonment for offence punishable U/S – 376 with a fine of Rupees 10,000 and 4 years rigourous imprisonment for offences punishable U/S – 363 & 366 IPC with fine of Rupees 2000. (Raju Kumar Verma v. NCT of Delhi, Criminal Appeal No. 945/2013).

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