New Delhi: A Delhi court on Wednesday dismissed a plea for addition of charges in the Unnao rape case against expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who has been accused of sexually assaulting a minor in 2017.
The rape survivor's mother had sought that fresh charges under sections 376(2)(f) and (k) (penetrative sexual assault by a person in a position of trust and control over the woman) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) be invoked against the accused.
District Judge Dharmesh Sharma said there was no merit in the plea moved by the counsel of the rape survivor and her family.
If the charge as sought by the victim's family was added, it would have led to a severe punishment on conviction — imprisonment for the remainder of a person's natural life.
During the in-camera trial, the court examined one more witness on Wednesday, the sixth person to be examined since the trial began in the national capital from August 16 after the case was transferred from a Lucknow court pursuant to a Supreme Court order.
The court put up the matter for further hearing on August 26.
It had earlier framed charges against Sengar and co-accused Shashi Singh under sections 376(1) (rape), 363 (kidnapping), 366 (kidnapping or inducing a woman to compel for marriage etc.), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sections 5(c) and 6 (penetrative sexual assault by a public servant) of the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.
In Wednesday's order, the judge said, "I find no merit in the present application. Firstly, the application has not been supported by the CBI. Moreover, since a specific charge under section 5(c) of the POCSO Act has already been framed, I do not see how sections 376(2)(f) and (k) of the IPC become applicable merely because Sengar is a 'public servant'."
The offences entail a maximum punishment of life imprisonment, which may not necessarily mean for the remainder of the convict's natural life.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had opposed the plea, saying since charges were already framed against Sengar, the new provisions were not applicable.
The plea had said section 376(2)(f) of the IPC applied as being the local MLA, Sengar was in a position of trust or authority as the rape survivor was a voter in the area.
It had further said charges should also be framed under section 376(2)(k) of the IPC as the legislator was also in a position of control or dominance over the girl or her family members since they were voters of his constituency.