Delhi HC doubles duo's jail term to 10 years for 'brutal and inhuman' acid attack
Deccan Chronicle | DC Correspondent
The verdict came on the appeal of the woman, who was a dancer at a hotel in south Delhi and was attacked in 2004 with sulphuric acid.
Delhi High Court (Photo: PTI)
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has doubled the jail term of two convicts for throwing acid on a 25-year-old woman to 10 years. The woman has lost her vision and had a disfigured face, saying the "brutal inhuman attack on a beautiful woman" and the mere sight of her injuries were "traumatising".
"The very sight of the victim (who was present in the court at the time of hearing) is traumatising. If the court could be traumatised by the mere sight of injuries caused to the victim by the inhuman attack on her, what would be the situation of the victim, perhaps, cannot be judged," Justice Sunita Gupta said, adding the court cannot be "oblivious" of the fact of her trauma.
The verdict came on the appeal of the woman, who was a dancer at a hotel in south Delhi and was attacked in 2004 with sulphuric acid by another woman (also a dancer) and her brother out of jealousy, seeking enhancement of the five-year jail term awarded to them by a trial court.
The high court also dismissed the appeals of the duo against their conviction and five year sentence awarded by the trial court in 2011, saying the jail term was on a lower side.
"Considering the facts and circumstances, sentence of five years awarded to appellants (convicts), in my view, is on a very lower side, hence the same is enhanced to 10 years," the judge said and also directed Delhi State Legal Service Authority (DLSA) to appropriately compensate the victim under victim's compensation scheme.
The high court observed, "Present is a glaring example of another brutal inhuman attack with acid on a young girl of hardly 25 years of age, who worked as a dancer, out of jealousy."
According to the prosecution, the victim was working as a bar dancer in the hotel here and her colleague Simran, who was envious of her, had threatened to get acid thrown at her.
On December 19, 2004, the victim left her house and boarded an autorickshaw to attend work when Simran's brother Raju, who was already standing near the auto covering himself with a shawl, splashed acid on her face.
She received severe burn injuries on her face and lost her eyes. The court said the victim was a young girl with a pretty face and by one stroke the appellants made her face hideous and also made her blind in both eyes.
"By mere look at the faces (before and after the incident), it needs no great imagination to feel, not only her physical but also mental trauma. She cannot come out of the house and walk in the streets with blind eyes, nose, lips, forehead reduced to mangled flesh and thus, has become a prisoner in her own house, for a lifetime," it said.
The FIR was lodged against Simran and Raju under section 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC and statement of the autorickshaw driver was also recorded. Both the accused were arrested the next day.
The trial court in 2011 had convicted them under sections 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC but had absolved them of the offence under section 307, observing they had no intention to kill her but only to hurt her so that she could not look or dance better than Simran.
The trial court had also imposed a fine of Rs one lakh each on the convicts with a direction that 80 per cent of the amount be paid to the victim as compensation. The high court upheld the decision of the trial court and further enhanced the sentence to 10 years and also directed that she be appropriately compensated.
"A young beautiful girl who has now to carry all along her entire life the hideous face, who has lost hopes forever of leading normal life including loss of a chance of marriage, the revered dream of every girl viz. motherhood, for no fault of her and this is only because of the accused," Justice Gupta observed.
The high court said though the victim has not placed anything on record as to how much expenses were incurred by her in her treatment, "one cannot lose sight of the fact that such restorative surgeries cast a fortune."
"Moreover, the compensation is not to be awarded only in terms of the physical injury, the court has also to take note of victim's inability to lead a full life and to enjoy those amenities which is being robbed of her as a result of the acid attack, so this court deems it appropriate to recommend the case to Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DLSA) to award compensation to her as per the provisions of Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme, 2015," the court said.