A man was on Saturday sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment for raping his minor daughter.
While sentencing the man, the court of second additional sessions judge Srinagar Sham Lal Lalhal said that due to the "shameful act" of the convict, the victim has suffered pain, mental agony, stigma and traumatic experience and shaken the conscience of the society at large.
"The convict being the father and natural guardian of the victim was under moral and legal obligation to look after, up bring and protect the victim in every respect but instead of discharging his moral and legal obligation, he himself has raped her," the court observed.
The court said that although the convict was aged and had remained in judicial lockup for about eight years, he did not deserve any "sympathetic view because he had raped his own helpless minor daughter".
Advocate Mujeeb Andrabi who represented the state in the case, countered the arguments of the defense counsel on the quantum of punishment.
"An act of rape is a gruesome and abhorrent act. But when this act is committed by a father upon his own daughter, then it leaves a permanent scar on the personality of the child, inhibiting growth and development. It instills a feeling of fear, insecurity and a brooding sense of shame and guilt for no fault of the victim," Andrabi submitted before the court, pleading for life imprisonment for the convict.
After hearing both sides, the court, while referring to various Supreme Court and High Court judgments, said, "It is the well settled law that the punishment to be awarded to the convict should meet the gravity of offence/s committed by the convict and court should not give undue sympathy to the convict."
The court noted that sexual violence, apart from being a dehumanising act, is also an unlawful intrusion into 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," the court said.
The court said that "it has been rightly said that whereas a murderer destroys the physical frame of a victim, a rapist degrades and defiles the soul of a helpless female".
The court also recommended the government to pay Rs 3 lakh compensation to the victim under the J&K Victim Compensation Scheme 2013 within two months.
The convict had been arrested in 2009 after the victim lodged a complaint with the police.