Observing that the rape of a minor in Maripeda police station area of Warangal district reported in 2014 “did not fall into the category of rarest of rare case”, Telangana High Court has commuted the life imprisonment awarded to the convict to 10 years rigorous imprisonment.

The judgment was passed by a bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A. Abhishek Reddy in a criminal appeal filed by Banoth Ravi. The latter charged with section 376 (2) (i) of Indian Penal Code and provision of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was convicted by the lower court and sentenced to undergo life imprisonment.

The bench upheld his conviction under provisions of both the laws. Though the sentence was commuted, the bench made it clear that he shall not be granted the benefits of parole either by the jail authorities or the courts.

In October 2014, 30-year-old Ravi allegedly lured the minor to his maternal grandmother’s house in Thirumalayapalem of Khammam district. He was accused of repeatedly violating her there for three days. Holding him guilty of the crime, the trial court awarded life imprisonment to Ravi.

The bench observed that before awarding harshest punishment to a person, the courts should ensure the crime falls under the category of the rarest of the rare. “For, the harshest punishment cannot be inflicted as a knee-jerk reaction to an accident,” the bench observed.

Though the prosecution had proved that the accused had violated the victim, medical evidence did not indicate that the crime was committed under aggravated circumstances, the bench observed. Even after sexually assaulting her, the accused did not maltreat the victim. “Hence the case certainly does not fall within the category of being the rarest of rare case,” the bench noted.

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