Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali and Salim Ansari who were among the four convicted had filed the petitions.
Mumbai: In a significant ruling, the Bombay high court on Monday upheld the constitutional validity of newly amended IPC section wherein life imprisonment or death penalty would be given to repeat offenders in rape cases.
A bench of justices B.P. Dharmadhikari and Revati Mohite Dere dismissed the petitions filed by three convicts in the sensational 2013 Shakti Mill gangrape case challenging the constitutional validity of 376 (e) provision of Indian Penal Code, provision under which they were sentenced to death for the repeat offence by a sessions court in 2014 in what was the first such conviction under the changed law.
The trio was convicted for raping a 22-year-old photo-journalist inside the abandoned Shakti Mills compound in central Mumbai on August 22, 2013 and for raping an 18-year-old telephone operator at the same place some months earlier.
“We are of the opinion that section 376 (e) of the IPC is not ultra vires to the Constitution and hence need not be quashed in the present case,” the court said.
Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali and Salim Ansari who were among the four convicted had filed the petitions. The trio, in April 2014, approached HC challenging the validity of section 376 (e) of IPC and contended that the sessions court acted beyond its power in awarding them the death penalty.
They argued that, as per the Constitution, only the rarest of rare cases attracted capital punishment. Therefore, the constitutional validity of section 376 (e) that treats more than one offence of rape as ‘rarest of rare’ needs to be examined, they argued.
Justifying the legislature’s decision to provide for the death penalty for a repeat offence of rape, the Union government had told HC that rape laws had been amended in 2013 to introduce a powerful deterrent against such crime.