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SC okays rapists’ compromise pact
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, February 22
In a verdict, the first of its kind, the Supreme Court today reduced the sentence of three persons, convicted for gang raping a woman in Ludhiana district in 1997, from 10 years to 3.5 years on the basis of a “compromise formula,” under which they would pay Rs 1.5 lakh to the victim.

A Bench comprising Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra scaled down the sentence, following the pleadings by the convicts as well as the victim that they had arrived at a "compromise formula" and as such did not want to pursue the case.

Under the compromise, each of the convict would pay Rs 50,000 to the victim. It was further contended that all of them had got married and were leading their own lives peacefully.

Initially, the Bench was hesitant to accept the plea, pointing out that there was no provision under the law to compound the offence (convert part of the sentence to penalty) and that the punishment had to be deterrent in such cases. It also questioned the convicts as to how could they think of leading a peaceful life after committing such a heinous crime.

However, it agreed to reduce the sentence to the period already undergone as their counsel persisted with the plea, arguing that the crime had taken place 15 years ago.

The trial court had handed out the 10-year jail term to them and the High Court had refused to interfere with the verdict, prompting the convicts to approach the SC.

The convicts are Baldev Singh, Gurmail Singh and Hardeep Singh. The apex court clarified that their conviction stood confirmed.





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