Madras High Court confirms death penalty to accused for rape and brutal murder of 7 year-old-child under POCSO Act

  • Ratna Singh
  • 02:23 PM, 13 Jan 2022

The Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) recently confirmed the death sentence to an accused awarded by Trial Court, Pudukkottai, in a case under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) for the rape and murder of a 7-year-old child.

A Division Bench of Justices S Vaidyanathan and G Jayachandran while confirming the death sentence took into consideration the brutality of the attack, the barbaric manner in which the child was murdered and the mental agony undergone by the parents.

“We find that except the death sentence, no other sentence will be adequate.We have examined this case more carefully and having given our anxious thought to the facts, we have found that the mitigating circumstances in favour of the accused herein is no match to the aggravating circumstances.”

The present case arose out of murder of a victim child aged about 7 years, who belonged to Scheduled Caste community and was put to death after an aggravated penetrative sexual assault. The convict, Samivel alias Raja, murdered her and threw the body into a dry pond. In 2020, the Pudukkottai Mahila Court imposed the death sentence on the convict. The child’s mother was a woman with special needs.

 The Bench mentioned that, everyone’s mind contains a liar, a cheat and a sinner and a man cannot be judged by his outer appearance, “as (even) Adolf Hitler, who ordered the execution of some eight million people and was responsible for the deaths of many millions more, hated cruelty to animals and was a vegetarian”.

The Bench further stated that if a person like the convict was allowed to survive in the world, he would definitely pollute the mind of other co-prisoners, who would be on the verge of release from jail in which he was confined.

"When the attitude of a man turns into one of a beast having no mercy over other creatures, he should be punished and sent to the eternal world," the Bench said.

The Bench wholly disagreed with the submissions stating that the testimonies were solid and unassailable, and minor discrepancies will not be fatal to the case.

“The trial court has rightly on appreciation of evidence held that the five point test for circumstantial evidence as envisaged by the Supreme Court is fully satisfied in this case. This Court has no alternate view on this aspect,” the order recorded.

The Bench also pointed out that the presumption in this case stood against the accused since Section 29 of the POCSO Act fastened a statutory presumption on the accused.

Thereby, the Court rejected the contention of the accused on the delay in lodging a first information report (FIR), reasoning that it was quite natural to search for a missing person at all probable places and only after ascertaining that the missing person was not traceable would one think of lodging a police complaint.

The bench opined that they were a little hesitant initially to take away the life of a person by way of a judicial order and thought of converting the punishment into one of life imprisonment. But, after due deliberation and contemplation, they were reminded of the preaching of Lord Krishna to Arjuna that said,

“In the battlefield where everyone is going to disappear from the world, even if he [Arjuna] does not shoot the enemies with arrows, even though they are relatives/known persons.”

The Bench finally quoted the Thirukkural, the Holy Bible and the Holy Quran in the judgment and noted that it was a fit case to grant death sentence.

“In all fairness, we find that the judgment of the trial court fulfilled all the touchstone to determine that it is one of the rarest of rare cases for imposition of the death sentence, as imposition of any other punishment much less life imprisonment is completely insufficient and inadequate and would not meet the ends of justice.”

Cause Title: State vs Samivel