Shillong ( Meghalaya), Apr 13 : The Meghalaya High Court has upheld the judgment of a trial court that sentenced former MLA Julius Kitbook Dorphang to 25 years in jail for raping a 14-year-old girl in 2017.
In 2017, Dorphang was serving as an MLA.
Dismissing the appeal, a division bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice W Diengdoh said the term of imprisonment of 25 years given by the trial court does not call for any interference.
The court pointed out that the appellant was about 52 years at the time of the commission of repeated acts of rape on the same woman in Umiam.
By imposing a sentence of 25 years of imprisonment, the trial court has ensured that by the time the appellant is let loose again in society, his libido would have been sufficiently lessened by age and adequately chastened by the punishment. He will then no longer be able to unleash his lust or indulge in any further virile bravado,” the judgement order stated.
The bench further said that one does not find any redeeming feature in the defence and the matter in which the survivor described to have been treated by the appellant herein has appropriately resulted in the tenure of imprisonment and the fine of Rs 15 lakh being slapped on the appellant by the trial court.
“There does not appear to be any glaring infirmity in the judgment of conviction, or the consequent sentence pronounced against the appellant on the basis thereof. The trial court dealt with the material before it at great length and justly arrived at the right conclusion by using the appropriate tools of assessment,” the judgement added.
The former MLA was apprehended from an inter-state bus terminus (ISBT) at Gorchuk in Assam’s capital city Guwahati following a complaint filed against him by the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR).
Earlier on August 13,2021 , Dorphang was sentenced to 25 years in jail by a special court in Ri-Bhoi district for raping a girl in 2017 when he was a legislator.
Special Judge (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences – POCSO) Febroneous Silkam Sangma had also imposed a fine of Rs 15 lakh on Dorphang, who was the founder-chairman of insurgent group Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC).
He had surrendered in 2007 as HNLC chairman, and in 2013, won the election from the Mawhati seat as an independent candidate.
Julius Dorphang was sentenced to 25 years in jail. He was also asked to pay a fine of Rs 15 lakh.
The court also sentenced to life imprisonment three handlers of the girl, besides imposing fines of Rs 1 lakh each, he said.
According to the special court judgement ,Darisha Mary Kharbamon, Mamoni Parveen and her husband Sandeep Biswa were accused of getting the girl for the crime and inducing her to prostitution.
Dorphang was arrested on the basis of a complaint lodged against him by the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) with the East Khasi Hills district police in December 2016, alleging his involvement in an illicit act with a minor.
In January 2017, the SCPCR had filed another complaint in Ri-Bhoi, alleging that Dorphang had committed a similar offense against the same minor at a resort in the district. On the basis of the complaints, two separate cases were registered against Dorphang, following which he went missing.
Dorphang was convicted and sentenced by the POCSO court in the case filed against him on January 5, 2017.
Meanwhile, the trial in connection with the other case is underway at a special court in Jowai.
Dorphang was lodged at the Nongpoh district jail since his arrest before the high court granted him bail on medical grounds last year.
The former MLA was re-arrested on August 13 after being convicted.