A LANDMARK DECISION BY PUNJAB AND HARYANA HIGH COURT
It must be said right at the outset that in a landmark, exemplary and unprecedented decision which must be applauded by all, the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Nishan Singh vs State of Punjab which was delivered on August 31, 2018 has ordered one Nishan Singh Brar, convicted of abduction and rape of a minor victim girl, and his mother Navjot Kaur to pay ` 90 lakh towards compensation when they demanded 20 lakhs only. This is truly laudable! Why should the rape victim and her parents not be compensated for such a heinous crime like rape?
It may be recalled here that Nishan Singh has already been convicted by the trial court and sentenced to life imprisonment. The Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered Nishan Singh to pay ` 50 lakh to the victim whereas, ` 20 lakh each to victim’s mother and father. The Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising of Justice AB Chaudhari and Justice Inderjit Singh was hearing an application filed by the rape victim’s father seeking compensation.
However, for brevity, some of the facts are stated herein as under: -
“On 24.09.2012, at about 9: 45 A. M., Nishan Singh along with his some companions, barged their entry into the house of the complainant armed tried to forcibly take away the prosecutrix ‘ S’ with them. The complainant, his wife and other daughter Sakshi obstructed them, but they were subject to beatings. Despite this, the complainant and his other daughter chased them and found that they had bundled prosecutrix ‘S’ into a car and fled away. Navjot Kaur mother of Nishan Singh and others had actively participated in the kidnapping and abduction.
The Special Investigation Team, after thorough searches, on 21.10.2012, intercepted Nishan Singh in Goa and recovered victim prosecutrix ‘S’ from his custody.
On 28.10.2012, prosecutrix ‘ S’ expressed desire for medical examination and a medical board examined her and found that she was carrying intra uterine early pregnancy.
“Now examining the evidence regarding rape as stated earlier by us, the question of consent is insignificant. No other evidence is required to prove rape when there is a medical evidence on record that the prosecutrix had become pregnant. Suffice it to say that the prosecutrix having been kidnapped on the strength of arms from her house with the episode of her family members being injured, the people being scared with firing taking place in the broad day light, and she being in custody of appellant – Nishan Singh throughout, what kind of consent/willingness is being propounded! Can one call this as consent? The minor girl herself was worried about her life.
“We reject the arguments in toto. That apart, we having held the girl being of the age of 15 years, 5 months, consent would be wholly irrelevant.” Finally and most importantly, para 7 states that: “In our opinion, the prosecutrix ‘S’ would be entitled to the total compensation amount of ` 50 lakh.
The complainant – Ashwani Kumar Sachdeva and his wife Seema shall be entitled to compensation in the sum of ` 20 lakhs each. The appellant-nishan Singh and his motherNavjot Kaur own and possess large chunk of lands valued at far more than the amount of compensation that is being ordered to be paid by this Court. It is not difficult at all for both the accused to make good the compensation from the properties owned and possessed by them. We thus, dispose of both these applications with following operative order: -
(i) The appellant-nishan Singh and Navjot Kaur shall pay total compensation in the sum of ` 90 lakhs (i.e. ` 50 lakhs to the prosecutrix ‘ S’ and ` 20 lakh each to the complainant – Ashwani Kumar Sachdeva and his wife Seema)
(ii) The Collector of the District Faridkot is directed to attach the agricultural as well as urban properties of both Nishan Singh and his mother Navjot Kaur, forthwith, and proceed to recover from sale proceeds thereof the amount of compensation, i.e. ` 90 lakhs as aforesaid and distribute the same as stated in the present order
(iii) The entire procedure of attachment and sale of property of Nishan Singh and Navjot Kaur shall be commenced and completed within 10 weeks from today and the compliance shall be reported after 10 weeks to this Court about the payments having been made as aforesaid.”
On a concluding note, it has to be said that it is an excellent and exemplary judgment which will send a very loud and stern message to all rapists and their helpers like mother in this case that, “You have to reap what you sow”. In this case, an unprecedented, laudable and landmark decision has been taken by the Division Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising of Justice AB Chaudhari and Justice Inderjit Singh who awarded a huge compensation of ` 90 lakh to the victim and the complainant – Ashwani Kumar Sachdeva and his wife Seema even though the victim had just demanded ` 20 lakh only!