The convict of gang rape will necessarily be considered for the minimum sentence of jail till death.
The Supreme Court will consider the provision of a minimum sentence of imprisonment till death for compulsory gang-rape of a girl child below the age of twelve years. The Court on Friday issued notices to the Attorney General, the Central Government and the Government of Maharashtra, considering the issue of minimum sentence of life imprisonment in the law. Nikhil Shivaji Golait, a convict in the gang rape, has filed a petition challenging Section 376DB of the IPC as a violation of Article 14 (right to equality) and Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution. He is presently lodged in the Central Jail of Nagpur.
It is noteworthy that in 2018 through amendments in the IPC, the punishment in rape cases was made stricter. At the same time, provision of this severe punishment was made in section 376 DB of IPC for gang rape of a girl below 12 years of age. On Friday, a bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Surya Kant issued notice considering the matter to be important. Earlier, advocate Gaurav Agrawal, appearing for the petitioner, argued for the petition saying that he has challenged the minimum sentence of life imprisonment for the gang-rape of a girl below the age of 12 years. Agarwal said that this section violates the rights given in Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
He said that in our constitution nothing has been said about punishment being inhuman, whereas in the law of other countries there is talk of punishment being inhuman. Agarwal said that this is the mandatory minimum punishment. If someone was convicted at the age of 20 and lived for 80-90 years, how many years would he be in jail?
If the prior order of the Supreme Court is seen, then in such cases the government does not have the right to give premature release by condoning the sentence. Giving the example of other countries, Agarwal said that Abu Salem is a terrorist, but the Portuguese government while extraditing him made a condition that he would not be sentenced to more than 25 years in prison. Hearing these arguments, Justice Chandrachud said that the petition is interesting. He is issuing notice in this matter. However, the court made it clear that they will not interfere in the matter of conviction of the petitioner in the gang rape, only consider the issue of punishment. Aggarwal agreed to this. After this, the court said that the matter is important, so they are also issuing notice to the Attorney General in this matter. Along with this, the court also issued notice to the central government and Maharashtra government made the opposition in the petition.
The convict was sentenced to death by the lower court
In this case of Maharashtra, 29-year-old petitioner Nikhil was sentenced to death by the trial court for the gang rape. The Bombay High Court on September 7, 2021 upheld the conviction under Section 376DB, but commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment. The convict has challenged the provision of law by filing a writ petition in the Supreme Court.
What does section 376 dB say?
If anyone is found guilty of gang-raping a girl child below the age of 12 years, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall be punishable with death, and shall also be liable to fine.