The Gujarat High Court today upheld life imprisonment of five out of six teachers for repeatedly raping a 19-year-old Dalit girl student of their college in Patan.
The high court reduced punishment of the sixth teacher from life term to ten years' imprisonment.
A two-judge Bench of Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice Z K Saiyed confirmed the life imprisonment for Manish Parmar, Mahendra Prajapati, Ashwin Parmar, Kiran Patel and Suresh Patel--all teachers of Patan's government-run Primary Teachers' Training College (PTC)--but reduced the term of the sixth convict, Atul Patel.
A fast track court in Patan in 2009 had sentenced all six teachers to life term.
The high court took into account the delay in filing of the FIR, the versions of the accused and corroboration of evidences before pronouncing the judgement.
Atul Patel had committed the crime only once and was not involved in gang-rape or multiple gang-rape. Hence, his life term was reduced to rigorous imprisonment of ten years by the high court, the bench said.
The shocking incident came to light on February 4, 2008 after the girl confided in her parents and relatives about the repeated sexual assaults by the teachers over a period of six months.
According to the prosecution, the teenager, who comes from a humble background, was raped by the convicts who threatened her of failing in examinations.
The teachers would also harass her mentally so as to force her into submission, prosecution said, adding that the teenager was also subjected to mental torture by relatives of the teachers after she disclosed her ordeal.
The girl was so shocked that she had fainted once during the morning prayer session of the college, and once in court room during the course of the trial, the prosecution said.
Taking note of the furore caused by the incident, the state government suspended all the six teachers and the probe was handed over to Crime Investigation Department (CID).
Additional Sessions Judge S C Srivastva of the Patan fast track court had in March 2009 sentenced all the six teachers to life imprisonment after finding them guilty of multiple gang-rape, physical assault on a woman to enrage her modesty and charges like rape in government educational institute, under various sections of IPC.
The high court also upheld the fine imposed on the convicts by the fast track court.
The court had imposed fine of Rs 4,000 on each convict and additional six months in jail in case of default. The court had also ordered each convict to give Rs 10,000 as compensation to the victim.