Gujarat High Court (HC), on Saturday, pronounced its judgment in the sensational Patan Gangrape Case and confirmed life imprisonment awarded to five accused teachers by a fast-track court while reducing the sentence of life imprisonment of one accused teacher to 10 years' rigorous imprisonment. A division bench of HC comprising of Justices Akil Kureshi and Z K Saiyed passed a judgment in this regard while acting on a group of petitions moved by the accused teachers and the state government.
The five teachers whose sentence of life imprisonment has been confirmed by the HC have been identified as Manish Parmar, Kiran Patel, Ashwin Parmar, Mahendra Prajapati and Suresh Patel. Whereas, the fifth accused whose sentence of life imprisonment has been reduced to 10 years' imprisonment has been identified as Atul Patel.
Special Public Prosecutor in the case anisha Lavkumar said that the court has confirmed the sentence of all the accused except for Atul Patel whose sentence has been reduced to 10 years' rigorous imprisonment.
Atul Patel's counsel Rajkumar Chaumal said that his sentence has been reduced by the court while holding that he did not commit gang-rape and had committed rape on a solitary occasion.
The case pertains to the gang-rape of a dalit girl student by her teachers at the hostel of Primary Teacher's Certificate (PTC) college in Patan district in 2008 which witnessed large scale protest. The girl was gang-raped by six of her teachers at different times and the issue became quite controversial after the girl fainted in the prayer hall of the college on January 31, 2008.
On February 4 then, college girls had complained to the college authorities about the accused teachers. But, when no action was taken against them, the girls and their parents vandalized the college and attacked the accused. An FIR was registered on the same day by Patan police.
The then education minister, Anandiben Patel, was representing the Patan district at the state assembly. The case was investigated by Gujarat CID (Crime) and at one point even the then Governor of Gujarat, Nawal Kishore Sharma, expressed concern over the delay in filing chargesheet in the case and he also suggested to conduct trial of the case in a fast-track court.
Subsequently, the trial was conducted on fast-track basis in the court of the then Patan's Principal District Judge, Swarnlata Srivastava, who later on also gave judgments in the 2002 Sardarpura and Dipda Darwaja massacres of