The Supreme Court has put in abeyance jail term of a man even as he served just two out of ten years behind bars in a rape case.
A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Ravindra Bhat held it to be a “fit case for grant of suspension of sentence” and ordered for release of the convict on bail.
“We are informed by the learned counsel for the petitioner that he has already undergone 2 years and 4 months sentence. Heard the learned counsel for the State and perused the material on record. We are of the opinion that this is a fit case for grant of suspension of sentence of the petitioner,” said the bench in a recent order.
The man had appealed against an order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which had declined his plea for suspension of sentence not once but twice in 2019.
The last order was passed in October 2019 when the High Court had noted that convict Gaurav was sentenced to ten years in jail under charges of repeatedly raping a girl when she was a minor.
While Gaurav’s lawyer claimed that the relationship was consensual, the high court maintained that the man had threatened the girl with making some objectionable photographs of her viral on social media.
“Under the threat appellant repeatedly called the prosecutrix at his home and committed sexual intercourse upon her. As per Section 90 of the IPC, the prosecutrix cannot be considered as a consenting party even if she attains the age of majority,” the high court had noted as it refused to stay the execution of Gaurav’s jail term.
Gaurav then challenged this order in the Supreme Court and again emphasised on the alleged consent by her for the relationship and some medical evidence in support of his contentions.
The top court found his to be a case suitable for suspension of sentence and ordered that Gaurav’s jail term will remain in abeyance till his appeal is decided by the high court.
It is unusual for a court to let a convict walk out of prison in a child rape case after undergoing merely one-fifth of the total prison time.