In a recent development, the Delhi High Court has declined to suspend the sentence of Jaideep Singh Senger, the brother of expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Senger. Jaideep Senger was convicted for his involvement in the death of the father of the 2018 Unnao rape victim. The decision was handed down by Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma, who dismissed Jaideep Singh’s application seeking the suspension of his ten-year sentence, awarded in March 2020, during the pendency of his appeal.
Jaideep Singh, along with Kuldeep Singh Senger and five others, faced convictions by the trial court in 2020. The recent plea argued that Jaideep Singh had been diagnosed with oral cancer while in custody and had undergone medical observation and supervision at AIIMS. He had been granted interim bail in November 2020 due to his medical conditions, and this interim bail had been extended several times until January 18 of the following year.
Last June, the court had temporarily suspended his sentence as an interim measure for eight weeks, considering his fragile medical condition. Subsequently, Singh remained out of prison. The recent plea contended that, given the suspension of the sentence for five co-accused persons, Jaideep Singh deserved similar relief based on the principle of parity.
However, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) opposed the plea, highlighting that Jaideep Singh had served only about 30% of his ten-year sentence, equivalent to three years. Justice Sharma found no merit in Singh’s plea for the suspension of his sentence, taking into account the period of custody served, his medical condition, and the gravity of the offense committed.
“The appellant herein has remained in judicial custody for about three years, which is much lower than half of the total sentence awarded to the appellant,” stated the court, emphasizing that Singh couldn’t seek relief based on the ground of parity.
The court also considered the medical report submitted by AIIMS, which indicated that Singh’s upper limbs and neck movements were functional, and he did not require assistance in his daily activities. The court clarified that its observations should not be construed as an opinion on the merits of the case.
While the bail plea was rejected, the court has scheduled Jaideep Singh’s appeal against the sentence and conviction for a hearing on May 5.
The Unnao rape case gained national attention in 2017 when the survivor, a minor at the time, was repeatedly gang-raped by Kuldeep Singh Senger and his accomplices. Senger was convicted for both rape and the murder of the survivor’s father, in connivance with police officers in the village of Makhi in Unnao district. He received a life sentence.
The trial was transferred to Tis Hazari Courts in Delhi by the Supreme Court in 2019, responding to a transfer petition from the survivor. The apex court acted upon a letter from the survivor addressed to then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. All five cases related to the incident were transferred from a Lucknow court in Uttar Pradesh to Delhi with instructions to conduct the trial on a daily basis, completing it within 45 days.
As the legal proceedings continue, this case stands as a significant marker in the fight against sexual assault, emphasizing the importance of swift and just legal actions in such heinous crimes. The rejection of Jaideep Singh’s bail plea underscores the court’s commitment to uphold the severity of the charges and maintain public confidence in the judicial system.