The Meghalaya High Court has rejected to overturn a lower court ruling that sentenced former MLA Julius Dorphang to 25 years in jail for raping a juvenile girl.
The High Court panel led by Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee, which heard the case on April 13, also ordered the state government to compensate the victim with a Rs 20 lakh investment within three months.
"The term of imprisonment of 25 years as awarded by the trial court by indicating cogent reasons, therefore, does not call for any interference," the high court panel stated in its decision dismissing the former MLA's appeal.
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"Depending on the convict's age, such a sentence could be 15 years, 20 years, 30 years, or any number of years in between."
"The discretion exercised is for the benefit of the convict by not imposing the maximum sentence permissible," the decision said. Dorphang had disputed the ruling issued by POCSO Special Judge FS Sangma in Ri-Bhoi district, which condemned him to 25 years in jail and a fine in August 2021.
The HC Bench further directed that the state pay for all of the survivor's medical requirements as a Grade-II officer for the next 20 years, as well as give her some late education programmes for women to guarantee that she lives a normal and healthy life.
Dorphang, the illegal Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council's founder and head, surrendered to authorities in 2007.
He then ran and won the Mawahati assembly election in the Ri-Bhoi district in 2013. He was accused of raping a 14-year-old girl while sitting as an MLA in 2017.
He was charged with violating the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act. He was imprisoned in the Nongpoh district jail, but the Meghalaya High Court granted him medical bail in 2020.
He was re-arrested after being convicted by the POCSO court in August 2021.
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