Unnao rape case: Court refuses to suspend Kuldeep Sengar’s sentence

The Uncut

New Delhi. The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to suspend the 10-year jail sentence awarded to former BJP leader Kuldeep Singh Sengar in the case of the custodial death of the Unnao rape victim’s father. Justice Swarn Kanta Sharma rejected Sengar’s plea seeking suspension of sentence pending appeal against conviction.

The court said, “This court is not inclined to accept the present petition for suspension of sentence at this stage. Accordingly, the present application is dismissed.” Sengar had requested suspension of his sentence on the ground that he has already served about six years of sentence and the prosecution’s case against him is entirely based on circumstantial evidence.

Justice Sharma, however, said that once the accused is convicted, the presumption of innocence vanishes and his application for suspension of sentence has to be considered on the basis of a prima facie view of his role, gravity of the offence, etc. and the period spent in prison is only one of these several factors.

In its judgment, the court said that while deciding the issue of suspension of sentence, factors such as nature of crime, criminal history of the convict, impact on public confidence and danger to the victims will also have to be taken into consideration. It said that Sengar has already been convicted of raping the minor daughter of the deceased person and has been sentenced to the rest of his life imprisonment in that case.

Sengar’s appeal challenging the trial court’s verdict in the main Unnao rape case is already pending in the High Court. Sengar has sought quashing of the trial court’s December 16, 2019 verdict convicting him in the rape case. Sengar has also sought quashing of the December 20, 2019 order sentencing him to the rest of his life imprisonment.

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