'Sexual violence is a grave public health concern, which has both short and long term impact on the physical and mental health of individuals,' the court said, adding that lack of power and low status makes a woman more vulnerable to sexual offences
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A Mumbai court has sentenced four persons to 20 years in jail for raping a 30-year-old widow in the suburban Mankhurd area after holding that the offences were "serious in nature".
"Sexual violence is a grave public health concern, which has both short and long term impact on the physical and mental health of individuals," the court said, adding that lack of power and low status makes a woman more vulnerable to sexual offences.
Sessions Judge SJ Gharat passed the order against Pranay Ingale (24), Amol Izhak ( 23), Sandip Shivaji Kamble (24) and Ajay Kamble (24) on May 25, the details of which were made available on Saturday.
As per the prosecution, the 30-year-old widow, having the responsibility of three minor children, was raped by the accused while she was returning home after watching 'Lavni' (a Maharashtrian folk dance) held in the locality.
The court, in its order, held that the mitigating circumstances pleaded by the accused are of young age and dependency on their family.
"However, for the offence of rape and especially of gang-rape, the young age of the accused only cannot be a mitigating circumstance at all. The court has to ensure the punishment is commensurate with the gravity of offence," Judge Gharat said.
The court said the minimum punishment prescribed for the offence was 20 years, which may extend to life imprisonment.
"Looking into the age of accused, their social and economic status, the responsibility of family members and it being the first offence proved against them, and keeping in mind the possibility of reformation, the minimum punishment prescribed under the law will meet the ends of justice," the court said in its order.
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