Srinagar: The Principal Sessions Court here Tuesday sentenced two persons to life imprisonment in a case related to acid attack on a law student at Nowshera, Srinagar in 2014.
Principal Sessions Judge, Srinagar, Jawad Ahmed while awarding life sentence to convicts Irshad Amin Wani of Wazir Bagh, Srinagar, and Muhammad Umer Noor of Bemina, Srinagar, said: “After careful consideration of the submissions made by both the sides and having regard to the nature of the attack, the permanent disfiguration caused to the victim by the use of corrosive substance by the convicts in furtherance of criminal conspiracy and the impact of the disfiguration on the future life of the victim both physical and emotional, I find that the convicts do not deserve leniency and no other punishment except the maximum punishment of life imprisonment prescribed under law for their act can do the real and complete justice to the victim”
The court had already convicted the duo for what it observed as a “horrific” acid attack on the 20-year-old law student on December 11, 2014.
“The convicts are sentenced to suffer imprisonment for life and fine of Rs 5 lakh each for commission of offence punishable under Section 326-A of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid), read with Section 120-B of the RPC (criminal conspiracy),” the court said.
The court also sentenced the convicts to 10 years of imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on each for the offence punishable under Section 120-B of the RPC.
“In default of payment of fine they shall undergo further imprisonment for one year,” it said.
The court also sentenced the guilty to imprisonment for three years for offence punishable under Section 201 (hiding or destroying evidence of a crime) of the RPC (destroying evidence) with fine of Rs 10,000 each.
And in default of such fine, the court said, they would undergo further imprisonment for six months.
“The sentence awarded to the convicts for different offences will run concurrently,” the court said.
Prior to the punishment, Special Public Prosecutor Abdul Aziz Teeli sought maximum punishment of life imprisonment saying, “Any kind of punishment given to the convicts won’t bring the face of the victim back to the position she was possessing before this horrific act.”
In response to the argument by the counsel of the convicts that the convicts were young, so a lenient view might be taken while awarding sentence to them so that they are reformed and are brought back to the society, the court said: “If this argument is accepted then what would happen to the victim, a young girl who was possessing of a beautiful physique before the occurrence.”
“She has now to carry the hideously disfigured face all along her life, who has lost hope forever to lead a normal life including the loss of chance of marriage for none of her fault,” the court said.
Noting that it understands the potential for rehabilitation and personal growth of the young convicts, the court said: “However, this understanding has to be balanced against the irreversible damage inflicted by them upon the victim.”
The scars left on the face and psyche of the victim, the court said, would serve as a haunting reminder of the brutal act, forever altering the trajectory of her life.
“When the loss and trauma suffered by the victim is compared with the mitigating circumstances and the chance of rehabilitation of the convicts, the tangible loss and life-long emotional trauma suffered by the victim by the horrible act committed by the convicts far out-weighs any hypothetical chance of rehabilitation of the convicts,” the court said.
“In the instant case the horrific acid attack by the convicts on the victim in furtherance of the criminal conspiracy is an uncivilised and heartless crime committed by the convicts on a young, innocent and defenseless girl (victim) in the morning on December 11, 2014, while she was moving towards her college,” the court said.
It said that the morning of December 11, 2014, became a darkest and blackest morning of her life, when by the horrific act of the convicts, all hopes and dreams of her future got lost.
Meanwhile, the court also recommended the case of the victim to the Member Secretary, J&K Legal Service Authority for awarding the maximum compensation to the victim in terms of the J&K Victim Compensation Scheme, 2019.
“In view of the huge amount the victim has incurred on her treatment and the amount which is required for her further treatment, I deem it appropriate to recommend the case of the victim to the Member Secretary, J&K Legal Service Authority to award the maximum compensation to the victim in terms of the J&K Victim Compensation Scheme, 2019, of course subject to the adjustment of the interim compensation already paid to her under the scheme,” the court said.
It said that the fine, when recovered, should be paid to the victim in terms of proviso 1 and 2 of Section 326-A RPC.
“In default of payment of fine, the convicts shall undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years,” the court said.
It said that the execution of the sentence should be subject to the confirmation by the High Court of J&K and Ladakh.