Thursday, May 30, 2019

HC upholds death in Theni rape case (Tamil Nadu)

TNN | Mar 14, 2019, 12.03 PM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai bench of the Madras high court on Wednesday upheld the death sentence by a trial court in Theni to a man who raped and murdered a college student and her male friend near Suruli fallls in Theni in 2011. In March 2018, the principal district and sessions judge, Theni sentenced the accused, Diwakar to death after the offences against him were proved. The verdict was referred before the division bench of justice R Subbiah and justice B Pugalendhi and the bench upheld the trial court’s verdict. 

Diwakar, now aged 30 years had committed the crimes when attempting to rob the couple after confronting them when they were spending time together near the falls, the prosecution held. He had also chopped off the limbs of the woman after raping her. The woman’s family had filed a missing complaint initially and five days later, both the bodies were found in the forest area. The Rayappanpatti police eventually arrested the accused and substantial circumstantial evidence proved him committing the crime. The accused, before the rape and murder had threatened another couple the same day in the same forest region and the man identified the accused after he came to know that a couple was murdered. “The brutality of the attack on the young and helpless girl, after forcibly raping her, would show the inhuman act of the accused. We are shocked by the savagery of the offence,” the division bench said and stated that the conduct of the accused shows that he is an extremist and would be a menace to the society. 

The division bench also noted that the accused had criminal antecedents and he once attacked a policeman with a sharp object when police attempted to arrest him for jumping bail in this case. Holding that the present case falls within the rarest of rare category propounded by the Supreme Court, the division bench upheld the trial court’s order. Earlier, before confirming the trial court verdict, the bench also reflected on mixed opinions on death sentence in the country. “Majority of citizens want the judicial system to deal offenders of rape and murder with an iron hand. They want the judiciary to take note of the plight and trauma that would have been undergone by the families of the victims,” the court said and observed that there is also a contrary opinion which requires the judiciary to soft pedal on the issue by resorting to reformative theory and take a humanitarian approach.

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