SC upholds death penalty of man in rape, murder case

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the death penalty awarded to a man for raping a 10-year-old girl and murdering her and her brother in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore district in 2010.

The court said that “its judgement was in keeping with the legislature’s realisation that such crimes are on the rise and must be dealt with severely”.

A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Surya Kant dismissed an appeal filed by Manoharan against the Madras High Court's judgement of March 24, 2014, which had confirmed the trial court's judgement holding him guilty of rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl and killing of her seven-year-old brother.

Justice Sanjiv Khanna, however, dissented on punishment and instead awarded the appellant with a life term, saying the case fell under the special category where he should remain in jail till the end of natural life.

Holding that the present case does not fall under the category of ‘rarest of rare’ case, Justice Khanna noted mitigating factors like the man was 23-years-old, a first-time offender and hails from a poor family.

In the judgement authored by Justice Nariman, he said, “The crime committed was cold-blooded and involves the rape of a minor girl and murder of two children in the most heinous fashion possible.”

It was unlikely that the appellant if set free, would not be capable of committing such a crime yet again, he added.

“Just as this judgment is being dictated, we notice that a significant amendment has been made to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, by which death penalty has been brought in for “aggravated penetrative sexual assault," it said.

Justice Khanna, however, said Manoharan was not initially involved in the abduction and kidnapping of the children. He was not the mastermind.

It was Mohanakrishnan, who was killed in a police encounter, had thought, conceived and had single-handedly executed the plan to abduct the children.

“Appellant did join him thereafter and was with Mohanakrishnan (since deceased). Subsequently, the devil in Mohanakrishnan took over and he sexually assaulted and raped the small girl, while the appellant kept quiet. Later the appellant too sexually assaulted and committed rape. Thereupon, the poison was administered to the children before throwing them into the canal. The offence committed was heinous and deplorable,” Justice Khanna said.

Comments (+)