Relief to rape convict for cracking civil service challenged


New Delhi : The Supreme Court Thursday said it didn’t agree with the Delhi High Court’s order giving relief to a rape convict who cracked the civil service exam while serving his sentence.

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The apex court issued notice to the Delhi government on a lawsuit by the National Commission for Women (NCW) questioning the rationale of the high court verdict releasing the rape convict, Ashok Rai.

A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam also issued notice to Rai, who was awarded life term in 2003 for raping his student. He was released by the high court Feb 10 after he cleared the civil service exam in jail with the highest grade.

The apex court bench said: “We do not agree to the reasoning of the high court.”

“Such observation is unnecessary. It is not (a) relevant consideration,” said the bench, discarding the high court’s rationale for giving relief to Rai. “It will send a wrong message.”

Impressed by Rai’s feat, a high court bench of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Aruna Suresh said Rai had reformed himself during his five-and-half year jail term.

The high court reduced his sentence of life term to the imprisonment he had already undergone.

The NCW lawsuit pointed out that the high court has reduced Rai’s sentence to less than the minimum punishment prescribed for a rape convict.

The high court, however, had not absolved Rai of the conviction. It said despite his release, Rai would continue to be a convict for the crime of rape.

The high court bench directed that Rai was guilty under section 306 (abetment to suicide), of obtaining the consent of the victim for sex on the “false promise of marriage” (which constitutes rape), but didn’t push her to end her life.