In a significant judgment, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday confirmed the death penalty awarded to a man who raped and killed a 5-year-old girl in January 2013 stating that he would be a “menace” to the society.
A division bench of Justice V K Tahilramani and Justice V L Achliya observed that the case fell in the “rarest of rare” category.
The judges said that 53-year-old Dattatray Rokde had attacked the minor girl with brutality and the intention to inflict body injury. The victim was a “young, defenseless, harmless” minor girl, who had hardly seen five summers, the judges observed.
The court also observed that with the rising crimes against children, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSOA) came into existence and same was relied upon the prosecution in the present case. The judges also ruled out the possibility of Rokde’s reformation observing his age and said the man had a habit of committing offences of such nature. The court also observed that the 53-year-old was forcefully subjecting his wife to sexual intercourse. “Thus, it is clear that the accused was committing marital rape on a regular basis,” the judges said.
The minor girl had gone missing on January 1, 2013. The girl’s family, which lived in same locality as the accused, lodged a missing complaint with the police the following day. The girl’s naked body was found lying in front of their house on January 23.
Additional Public Prosecutor Usha Kejariwal relying on statements of witnesses including accused’s family members and other incriminating evidences proved the charges of rape and murder committed on the minor girl.
The sessions court on June 6, 2013 awarded death sentence to Rokde after convicting him under Section 302 (murder), 376 (rape) 376 (2) (f) and other relevant sections of Indian Penal Code. He was also convicted under relevant sections of the POCSOA.