Srinagar: A private school teacher was sentenced to ten years rigorous imprisonment for raping a minor student in 2013 by a court in Srinagar on Monday. The accused was convicted as prosecution proved him guilty after two years of trial.
The Second Additional District and Sessions Judge Srinagar Sham Lal Lalhal also fined Pervaiz Ahmad Dar of New Colony Old Barzulla Rs 25,000.
“The shameful act of the convict has not only spoiled the life of the victim but has shaken the conscience of the society at large,” said the judge while awarding the jail term and fine on Dar, father of a child and only breadwinner of a family comprising his wife, two sisters and aged parents.
“In default in payment of the fine, the convict (Dar) shall undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of six months,” the judge said.
Besides sentencing him under RPC section of 376 (rape), Dar was also awarded rigorous imprisonment of one year and Rs 500 fine under section 342 (wrongful confinement) and two years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 500 under 506 (criminal intimidation).
“All the sentences imposed on (Dar) shall run concurrently and the period of imprisonment already undergone by (him) in judicial lockup shall be set off against the period of imprisonment awarded to (the teacher) him,” the court said. The judge also directed that entire fine amount, if paid by Dar, shall be paid to the victim.
The court passed the sentence after hearing Public Prosecutor Jahan Ara Shah and Dar’s counsel, Mushtaq Ahmad Dar.
In her arguments, Shah submitted that Dar has committed a heinous offence due to which the victim, minor girl and a student of 9th class, has suffered great social stigma and that she will not be able to lead a normal.
“The victim has not only suffered trauma but her life has been ruined and spoiled,” she said and urged the court to award maximum punishment to Dar.
On the other hand, Dar’s counsel urged the court to impose lesser punishment in view of “special circumstances.”
“He was a graduate and teacher of a private school with a salary of Rs 7000 with which he fed his sick and infirm parents who are unable to maintain themselves,” the defense counsel said.
He also submitted that one of sisters of Dar is married and has been deserted by her husband along with her children. “Dar’s family has been badly devastated,” he said.
While sentencing Dar, the court referred to Supreme Court judgment that award of punishment should meet the gravity of offence.
“Sexual violence apart from being a dehumanising act is an unlawful intrusion of the right to privacy and sanctity of a female. It is a serious blow to her supreme honour and offends her self esteem and dignity – it degrades and humiliates the victim and where the victim is a helpless innocent child, it leaves behind a traumatic experience,” the judge said, referring to SC judgment. The apex court has also underlined that a rape convict should be treated with a heavy hand.
“An underserved indulgence or liberal attitude in not awarding adequate sentence in such cases would amount to allowing or even encouraging ‘potential criminals,” the Supreme Court told the lower courts in the 2008 judgment (MP vs Bhabu Lal).
Dar was arrested by police soon after brother of the victim (name withheld) filed a complaint with police station Saddar on December 12, 2013.
A case (FIR No. 242/2013) was registered and police immediately wrote a letter to Lal Ded Hospital for providing medical treatment to the victim. The victim was Dar’s erstwhile student. On the fateful day, she had visited Dar’s home to handover an amount of Rs 2,000 for a tutor.
“Since Dar was known to the family, they requested him to persuade the tutor to accept the tuition fee of Rs 7,000 in installments. On the fateful day, the girl’s mother gave her Rs 2,000 to pay him as first installment”, a policeman associated with the case told Kashmir Reader. He said the teacher locked the victim in his room and raped her. The trial of the case started in January 2014 and culminated on February 25 with court holding Dar guilty of rape.