The trauma of a minor girl who was repeatedly raped by her HIV positive stepfather — due to which she contracted the deadly infection — and was later forcibly given pills to cause a miscarriage, led the court to ask whether “having sex while knowingly infected with a deadly sexually transmitted infection” should be criminalised.
The court sentenced the man to 10 years in jail each for the offences of rape and attempt to murder and five years’ imprisonment for causing a miscarriage.
It also imposed a fine of Rs 6,000 on him. The jail terms will run concurrently, the court said.
The court denied the man’s plea for leniency on ground of his disease, and held that “the depravity of the convict was not only confined to sexual assault on a helpless girl, but also got compounded by the fact that despite being in the know of his HIV positive status, he committed the offence of indulging in unprotected sex with the girl as a result of which she had conceived.
“As if this was not enough, he forcibly administered pills to her resulting in the abortion of the foetus,” ASJ Lau said.
The victim had told the court that after the death of her mother, her stepfather began to “forcibly have sex with her”.
Her plight was discovered when her younger brother was diagnosed with HIV and admitted to a local hospital.
The girl started vomiting and was noticed by the staff there. They informed Childline and police. Later, her medical examination revealed that she had been infected with the HIV virus and was also pregnant.
The prosecution established that the stepfather came to her hospital room in the absence of the attending nurses and administered some pills to her causing a miscarriage.
The hospital then had to perform an abortion procedure. The DNA test of the foetus later established the convict as the father.
The court has ordered the government to pay a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the girl for her rehabilitation.
The court also asked the government to consider modifying the guidelines for medical examination of accused in sexual assault cases to include tests for sexually transmitted diseases.