Top lawyers Vrinda Grover and Nitya Ramakrishnan are representing the prosecution and defence respectively
It seems like Peepli Live co-director Mahmood Farooqui’s is in with a long stint with the legal system. The Delhi police has sought life imprisonment for the filmmaker, who has been held guilty of raping a female research scholar from Columbia University, US. They said he had brought disrepute to the country and given his status as a member of the intelligentsia, there was “an additional responsibility on him not to conduct himself in a such a manner”.
The police argued before Additional Sessions Judge Sanjeev Jain, saying the lady was raped by “a friend she trusted”. The court will announce the punishment on Thursday.
Well known lawyer and women’s rights activist Vrinda Grover who is representing the complainant stated, “The foreigner was here for research work but was raped by a person she knew, who was her friend and whom she had trusted. This court must keep in mind that there was an additional vulnerability of the woman in a foreign country and it brought disrepute to our country, besides traumatising the victim… The offence of rape affects the morale of society and should be strictly dealt with. He should be awarded life imprisonment.”
She further said, “He is a prominent figure in cultural world and occupies a high status in society. Therefore, there was additional responsibility on him to not conduct himself in such a manner… The intent of the legislature is clear regarding the offence of rape and the severity of punishment.” There has been a demand for compensation as well from the woman’s counsel for the disruption caused in her research work. A minimum amount of Rs three lakhs has been sought as per the new Central government guidelines.
Nitya Ramakrishnan who is representing Mahmood Farooqui argued that the sentence should be of seven years as the accused is not a habitual offender and there is no brutality or violence in the case. She also spoke out strongly against the idea that the crime was greater as the woman was a foreigner. She said it was a mockery of the Indian women who suffered systematic abuse.
The defence added in her statement, “The conduct of the convict during the trial should be considered… Expression of remorse itself is a mitigating circumstance in this case. The woman has never been intimidated by him during the stage of trial… He has a family to support. He has bipolar disorder… Reformation should not be ruled out while awarding the sentence.”
Farooqui has been accused of raping the research scholar at his South Delhi residence in Delhi’s Sukhdev Vihar on March 28, 2015.