"No one has the right to force another person into any act in the name of a ceremony, which by its nature causes pain and suffering and results in cruelty to a person. Such acts can never be justified even if it had been followed for a very long time," Justice N Anand Venkatesh said.
The judge said a ceremony which affects the dignity of a person and which on the face of it is inhuman offends Article 21 of the Constitution.
He said a strong message must be sent to society that cruel acts in the name of ceremony would not be tolerated and will be dealt with severely by courts.
The judge stated this while modifying the July 2010 order of the principal sessions judge, Dharmapuri, sentencing four women who subjected the victim to cruelty, to one year imprisonment.
He directed that the sentence be set off against the period already undergone by them in prison.
Following a complaint from the victim and her father, a case was registered on February 17. The trial court awarded the sentence, which was confirmed by the sessions court in 2010.
The judge took into consideration the passage of 17 years from the date of occurrence of the crime and age of the accused and modified the sentence.
He directed them to each deposit a compensation of Rs 15,000 before the Judicial Magistrate II in Dharmapuri within eight weeks, enabling the victim to withdraw the amount.
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