A sexual assault even over underwear will amount to rape, and the accused will be charged under Section 375 (b) of the Indian Penal Code, the Meghalaya High Court said.
Hearing a case involving the rape of a 10-year-old, a division bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice W Diengdoh, upheld the order of a lower court which had convicted the accused.
The incident dated back to September 23, 2006. The judges said the girl, even during the medical examination a week later, had pain in her private parts and there is sufficient evidence of penetrative sex even though the accused claimed he had not removed her underclothes.
On October 31, 2018, a trial court convicted the man and sentenced him to 10 years in jail and imposed a fine of Rs 25,000.
The convict challenged the order in the High Court, contending that he could not be accused of rape if the girl’s underwear were not removed.
“Whatever may have been the reasons for the victim claiming that she did not feel any pain at the time, she complained of pain when she was medically examined on October 1, 2006 and the medical report confirmed the same,” the High Court said its order.
“The principal ground of the appeal by the accused is that though the appellant has been found guilty of having committed rape and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment and payment of fine of Rs 25,000 in default to suffer imprisonment for an additional six months, no case of penetration in terms of Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 was made out,” the High Court said.
“Since the victim was a minor and since the appellant confessed that he lost control over himself and committed the offence, the punishment awarded to the appellant herein does not appear to be out of place,” the judges added in the order.