The Fast Track Special Court Number 2, Manipur on Friday sentenced an accused in rape and murder case to life imprisonment.
The court had announced the conviction of one Thiyam Sureshkumar Singh @ Sabi on July 5 for the offence of aggravated penetrative sexual assault, punishable under section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act, 2012 (POCSO Act), and for the offence punishable for murder under section 302 IPC respectively.
The court decided the quantum of sentence to be given to the convict on Friday; he was produced from judicial custody by the Jail authorities of MCI, Sajiwa.
Defence counsel of the convict submitted that Thiyam Sureshkumar Singh @Sabi has no antecedent and has no involvement in any criminal case. The convict is also a young person, only 21 years of age at the time of the occurrence, and has been languishing in jail for over seven years during the period of investigation and trial, the defence counsel pleaded and urged the court that the convict be given leniency.
Special PP for the state of Manipur submitted before the court that in the case, the convict is a very close relative, being cousin brother, of the deceased victim and the offence is gruesome and brutal. Further, the PP submitted that an extreme penalty should be awarded to the convict for committing the heinous offences.
It is a settled law that the quantum of punishment should be proportioned to the crime committed by the convict. The court have given thoughtful consideration to the elaborate argument advanced by both the sides and to the facts and circumstances of the case in totality.
Having considered all the attending facts and circumstances and the aggravating and mitigating circumstances of the case, the court found that the convict is a young man and his age was 21 years old at the time of offence as per version in the charge sheet. He has no criminal antecedents. The unfortunate incident is possibly the first crime against the convict and he is not, otherwise, a criminal, the court noted.
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However, the minimum punishment u/s 6 POCSO Act is ten years and maximum, a life imprisonment with fine. Further, the minimum punishment under 302 IPC is a sentence of life imprisonment and maximum is death sentence with fine.
However, in the case, the court found that no adequate reason exists for exercise of any discretion beyond the specific punishment prescribed by the POCSO Act and IPC.
In the case, the convict pleads leniency while in the facts of the case, the interest of justice will be met if convict Thiyam Sureshkumar Singh Sabi is sentenced to minimum imprisonment/punishment with fine provided in section 6 POCSO Act, 2012 and section 302 IPC, the court said.
Therefore, the court ordered that the accused Thiyam Sureshkumar Singh@ Sabi is sentenced to undergo 10 years rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs 5,000 and in default of payment of the said fine, he is to undergo further simple imprisonment for three months for committing the offence punishable under 6 of the POCSO Act, 2012.
Further the accused Thiyam Sureshkumar Singh @ Sabi is to undergo sentence for life imprisonment and to pay a fine of Rs 5,000 only and in default of payment of fine, he is to undergo further simple imprisonment for six months, for committing the offence u/s 302 IPC.
"The two sentences are directed to run concurrently," stated the court. It said it is an appropriate case U/s 33(8) POCSO Act read with Rule 9(2)(4)(5) of POCSO Rule, 2012.
The court, while exercising power U/s 33(8) POCSO Act, 2012, hereby grants compensation, an amount of Rs 4,00,000 to the family of the deceased victim for mental trauma suffered by them in the incident and during the period of government from the victim compensation fund or any other scheme U/s 357-A of CrPC, it stated.
The court stated that the parents of the deceased are directed to approach MASLSA through the DLSA, Thoubal. The DLSA, Thoubal is also directed to provide assistance to the family of the victim in connection with the payment of compensation, the court said.