New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has sentenced a man to life imprisonment till death for sexually
assaulting his three-and-a-half-year-old niece and murdering her to hide his crime.
The court said the child was incapable of arousing lust and her cries could not have been heard by anyone in the lonely, thick forest where she was dumped after by the man, who was 45-year-old at the time of the offence in 2010, after the attack.
A bench of justices Pratibha Rani and Rekha Palli dismissed the man's appeal challenging the trial court's order convicting and sentencing him to life term.
"We clarify that the sentence of imprisonment for life awarded to the appellant for the offence under Section 376(2) (raping a woman under the age of 12 years) IPC shall mean and be enforced as imprisonment for the remainder of his natural life," the bench said.
The court noted that as per the post-mortem report, the child had been brutally beaten and murdered after a violent sexual assault.
According to the prosecution, the incident took place in November 2010 and the child's mother approached the police in north east Delhi saying that her daughter was missing.
During investigation, it was found that the man had taken away the child with him on the pretext of buying her toffees after which she went missing.
The man, who was the cousin of the victim's father, was nabbed and he took the police to a nursery from where the child's body was recovered, the prosecution had said.
It had told the police that after he raped the girl, she had said that she would inform her mother about it and due to fear of being caught, he strangulated her and threw her body behind bushes.
During the trial, the man denied the allegations against him and claimed that he was falsely implicated.
He challenged the trial court's verdict, saying no public witness had joined even at the time of his arrest and claimed that the DNA report also did not conclusively prove that he was the offender.