The Bombay High Court on Monday upheld the Constitutional validity of the amended section of Indian Penal Code 376 (e) under which repeat offenders in rape cases can be awarded life imprisonment or death penalty.
A division bench of Justices B P Dharmadhikari and Revati Mohite Dere dismissed petitions filed by three convicts in the Shakti Mill gang rape case challenging Constitutional validity of the legal provisions under which they were sentenced to death in 2014.
“We are of the opinion that section 376 (e) of the IPC is not ultra vires to the Constitution and hence need not be quashed in the present case,” the court said.
The three accused Vijay Jadhav, Mohammed Kasim Shaikh, Mohammed Salim Ansari gang raped a 23-year-old photojournalist on August 22, 2013 in the defunct Shakti Mills compound at Lower Parel. On March 20, 2014, a trial court convicted all three accused and they were later sentenced to death under the newly-introduced Section 376E of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The trio has challenged the constitutional validity of Section 376E that prescribes life imprisonment (imprisonment till death of the convict) or death sentence for repeat rape offenders.
It is remarkable that under an amendment to section 376 (e) of the IPC, repeat offenders in rape cases faced life imprisonment or a death penalty. The amendment was made after the gang rape of a 23- year-old woman in Delhi in 2012.