When a substantive sentence of thirty days is imposed, in the crime of present nature, that is, acid attack on a young girl, the sense of justice, if we allow ourselves to say so, is not only ostracized, but also is unceremoniously sent to “Vanaprastha”. It is wholly impermissible.
Facts of the Case
The appellant after completion of her intermediate course had accompanied her brother to Amalapuram of East Godavari District where he was working as an Assistant Professor in B.V.C. Engineering College, Vodalacheruvu and stayed with him about a week prior to the occurrence. Thereafter, she along with her brother went to his native place Sompuram. At that time, the elder brother of the accused proposed a marriage alliance between the accused and the appellant for which her family expressed unwillingness. The reason for expressing the unwillingness is not borne out on record but the said aspect, needless to say, is absolutely irrelevant. What matters to be stated is that the proposal for marriage was not accepted. It is evincible from the material brought on record that the morning of 24.05.2003 became the darkest and blackest one in her life as the appellant having a head bath had put a towel on her head to dry, the accused trespassed into her house and poured a bottle of acid over her head. It has been established beyond a trace of doubt by the ocular testimony and the medical evidence that some part of her body was disfigured and the disfiguration is due to the acid attack.
Held by Trial Court
The learned trial judge, upon hearing him, sentenced him to suffer rigorous imprisonment for one year and directed to pay a fine of Rs. 5,000/- with a default clause under Section 326 IPC and sentenced him to pay a fine of Rs. 1000/- for the offence under Section 448 IPC with a default clause.
Held by High Court
HC modifies The sentence of imprisonment imposed by the trial Court for the offence under Section 326 I.P.C. to the period for which the accused has already undergone, while maintaining the sentence of fine for both the offences.
It is to be noted that period of custody suffered by the accused was mere 30 days.
Held by Hon’ble Supreme Court
The case at hand is an example of uncivilized and heartless crime committed by the respondent No. 2. It is completely unacceptable that concept of leniency can be conceived of in such a crime. A crime of this nature does not deserve any kind of clemency. It is individually as well as collectively intolerable. The respondent No. 2 might have felt that his ego had been hurt by such a denial to the proposal or he might have suffered a sense of hollowness to his exaggerated sense of honour or might have been guided by the idea that revenge is the sweetest thing that one can be wedded to when there is no response to the unrequited love but, whatever may be the situation, the criminal act, by no stretch of imagination, deserves any leniency or mercy. The respondent No. 2 might not have suffered emotional distress by the denial, yet the said feeling could not to be converted into vengeance to have the licence to act in a manner like he has done.
In view of what we have stated, the approach of the High Court shocks us and we have no hesitation in saying so. When there is medical evidence that there was an acid attack on the young girl and the circumstances having brought home by cogent evidence and the conviction is given the stamp of approval, there was no justification to reduce the sentence to the period already undergone. We are at a loss to understand whether the learned Judge has been guided by some unknown notion of mercy or remaining oblivious of the precedents relating to sentence or for that matter, not careful about the expectation of the collective from the court, for the society at large eagerly waits for justice to be done in accordance with law, has reduced the sentence. When a substantive sentence of thirty days is imposed, in the crime of present nature, that is, acid attack on a young girl, the sense of justice, if we allow ourselves to say so, is not only ostracized, but also is unceremoniously sent to “Vanaprastha”. It is wholly impermissible.