The Calcutta High Court recently ruled that taking off the undergarments of a minor girl and forcing her to lie down would amount to rape under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
A single judge's panel led by Justice Ananya Bandyopadhyay said that such action by a stranger would undoubtedly be done only with malicious intent.
Removing Undergarment Amounts To Rape
"The action of removing the undergarment of the victim, covering and protecting her private parts, and forcibly making her lie down on the ground cannot be for any other oblique reason but indubitably for the purpose of ravishing her. The minor child cannot be said to be pampered or mollycoddled by asking to remove her pants and reclining her against her will," the court said.
The court noted that the convict enticed the minor child with ice cream and lured her to an open ground in an isolated location.
The court added, "asking the victim to remove her prant and in defiance the appellant himself removing it justifiably signifies an attempt to commit the offence of rape."
The bench observed that the act of forcibly removing the victim's undergarments and forcing her to lie down cannot be for any other reason than to raping her.
Therefore, the bench upheld the conviction and sentence of the trial court for a 5-year jail term under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The bench was hearing the convict’s appeal challenging the trial court’s order.
According to the prosecution, the accused lured her to a secluded place and asked the minor girl to remove her pants, but she had left the spot. Then the accused chased her, brought her back, and forcefully removed her undergarments. By then, the girl had started screaming loudly, and as a result, the public gathered and caught the accused. The public assaulted him before handing him over to the police.
After reviewing the material on record, the court noted that the medical evidence did not point to any physical injury to the girl. The minor girl did not mention any penetration in her statement either.
However, the court found no strong case to quash the trial court’s order as the accused's act undoubtedly proved his intention to ravish the girl.
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