New Delhi: People of high repute, including TERI’s R K Pachauri, AAP MLA Somnath Bharti and Mahmood Farooqui of “Peepli Live” fame faced charges of sexual assault and molestation in 2015 in Delhi courts, one of which awarded life imprisonment to the accused driver in the Uber rape case.
Besides the rape case against Farooqui in which an American national was a victim, other sexual assault cases concerning foreign nationals that were watched keenly were the trial in the January 2014 gangrape case of a Danish woman and another one in which 30-year-jail term was awarded to two youths for gangraping a Ugandan woman in June 2014.
Delivering the verdict in the Ugandan woman’s gangrape case, the judge observed that “their (convicts) act brought India disrepute in the eyes of the world” for which they deserved exemplary sentence.
However, one case which had a chilling effect on the society was the December 5, 2014 Uber rape case in which a fast-track court despite facing legal hurdles created by the accused concluded the entire criminal prosecution in 11 months by sending 33-year-old driver Shiv Kumar Yadav to jail for entire life.
While the Uber case and others kept the courts busy, controversial AAP MLA Bharti, who faced a non-bailable warrant in a domestic violence case, lodged by his estranged wife Lipika Mitra, played hide and seek with the law before surrendering after getting a rap from the Supreme Court.
Out on bail, the MLA also had a regular outing before the Saket trial court for his midnight raid during the first stint of AAP government when he was the Law Minister and charged with the molestation case lodged by African nationals.
So was the case with climate scientist Pachauri, who lost his hold over the TERI and was a regular visitor to the Saket court where he is facing the rigour of the criminal proceedings to come out clean in the sexual harassment case lodged by a researcher who quit the organisation alleging that she was not treated well by the management.
The court acted tough against the people of “high social status” for crime against women by terming their unlawful actions as “unpardonable” and in two such cases seven years jail term was awarded to an already married officer of NHRC for deceitfully entering into a wedlock with a widow and an engineer with PWD for sexually exploiting a woman colleague on false pretext of marriage.
Another shocker was a complaint alleging attempt to rape by a retired sessions judge on his daughter-in-law. The judge was, however, granted anticipatory bail later.
While the city continues to report cases of assault against the minors, a court declined any leniency to a senior citizen for raping a minor girl in a temple by awarding 10 years imprisonment for the offence committed in 2012 in Mangolpuri area.
The year also came across the case in which perpetrator of crime against a female was a woman herself and one incident which shook the conscience was life term imposed on a mother for killing and throwing her infant daughter in a sewer.
An area of concern was also the misuse of laws when courts across the city noticed that there were several false rape complaints lodged to settle personal scores with one judge advocating that time has come to deal firmly with women filing false cases as they are “tormentors warranting punishment”.
The judge also said that false implication causes humiliation, disgrace and mental agony to the accused and directed lodging of an FIR against the woman for lodging false case against her neighbour.