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 Terming female infanticide as “a sin against god”, the Delhi High Court Friday upheld the life sentence handed down to a woman for killing her newborn daughter.

“No reasonable and rational person would countenance female infanticide. It is not only a penal offence but is a sin against god. The greatest gift of god to mankind is the gift of life,” said a division bench of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Suresh Kait.

“Children are life, born not to their parents but through their parents. The problem in India is acute with contempt for the female child writ large on the spectrum of the society,” the bench added.

“Its proof is the dismal adverse male:female sex ratio where the biologically stronger sex, the female sex, is in minority. Sixty years of Independence and so-called modernisation has not changed the societal attitude towards the female child. Across the board – rural or urban, educated and uneducated, rich and poor – the skewed sex ratio adverse to the female child is a sad mirror image of the social thinking even in the 21st century,” the court said.

Manju, convicted of killing her daughter hours after her birth, was married at the age of 15 and became a mother in 2007. The court upheld the life sentence handed down to her by a trial court.

Analysing the reasons for female foeticide and infanticide, the court said: “The reason  is dowry…The result is the female child being looked upon and treated as a liability and a son being treated as an asset. The society forgets that a son is a son till he gets married but a daughter is a daughter all her life.”

Talking about the convict Manju, the bench said: “The crime against the female child is a product of the perverse social norms…and the appellant, who is not only illiterate, is not only poor, lives in a slum and was married at the tender age of 15 years cannot be attributed the role of scripting the crime.”

“She is a mere puppet with the strings being pulled by the men who lecture her. The turbulent waves of social thinking have called her to folly.”

The court also directed the government to see whether the sentence of life imprisonment  inflicted upon the appellant can be reduced or whether she can be pardoned

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