The Bombay High Court confirmed a 10-year sentence of rigorous imprisonment handed to a 70-year-old man for raping a minor girl. While upholding the sentence, the court observed, “The appellant is not so old that he cannot commit a sexual act. Plus, there is no medical evidence to prove otherwise.”
According to the prosecution, the accused Bhimrao Gaikwad was the six-year-old victim’s neighbour. On May 30,2005, Gaikwad called the minor to his home on the pretext of fetching beedis for him. When the girl entered the house, he raped her and then gave her Rs 3 to buy chocolates.
The distraught minor later informed her mother who lodged a police complaint. Acting on the complaint, the Pune police registered a case under Sections 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The charge was later altered to rape after the police received the medical report of the victim confirming intercourse. Justice R C Chavan upheld the sentence handed down to Bhimrao Gaikwad under Section 376 (2) (f) and rejected his plea for leniency on the grounds of his age.
The court though set aside the conviction handed to Gaikwad under Section 506 noting that the trial court had erred in finding him guilty under that section. The court observed that there was no reason given in the previous judgment for the sentence and the victim hadn’t mentioned any threat in her statement.
The accused was arrested and during the trial, the prosecution examined five witnesses to bring home the guilt of the accused. On October 4, 2008 Gaikwad was held guilty. He appealed to the High Court. His lawyers claimed that Gaikwad was framed over a quarrel that had taken place a few days before the incident between him and the victim’s mother. The prosecution argued that only a quarrel would not lead to the leveling of such a grave charge, nor would she want to spoil her daughter’s life for the sake of revenge. Moreover, a medical report supported the rape.