CHENNAI: When a case falls under the rarest of rare dictum, a trial court should not shy away from awarding capital punishment, Madras High Court observed and took to task the Addtional Sessions Court of Puducherry at Karaikal for not awarding the same to a youth, who poured acid on the face of Vinodhini (23), a techie, on November 14, 2012, resulting in her death.
The girl, working in a software company in Chennai, despite treatment, died three months later on February 12, 2013 and unable bear the loss, her mother committed suicide immediately after the trial court verdict.
The case will come under the rarest of rare cases category and the accused - Suresh Kumar aka Appu -- deserved the maximum punishment of death, a division bench of Justices S Nagamuthu and V Bharathidasan said on Tuesday.
The bench was dismissing a criminal appeal from Suresh Kumar challenging the orders dated August 20, 2013 of the lower court awarding life imprisonment with a fine of Rs, 1 lakh. Of this amount, Rs. 50,000 must go to the father of the victim, the judge had said.
The reason for the acid attack was that Vinodhini had rejected Suresh's onesided love. After spending Deepavalli with her parents at Karaikal, she was about to board a bus at the terminus for her return juorney in the night of the fate full day, when Suresh threw acid on her face.
Observing that the police and the other authorities should act with iron hands to bring to book the culprits involved in the brutal murders of young girls, the bench confirmed the life sentence awarded to the accused.
The trial court ought to have examined the question of sentence elaborately to find out whether the offence committed by the accused falls within the rarest of rate cases as propounded by the Supreme Court, to impose capital punishment on the accused. Unfortunately the trial court has not made any such attempt.
The Puducherry government had also not appealed against it. "Therefore we are unable to go into the question as to whether imposing death penalty on the accused would be the only appropriate sentence and to examine whether life sentence would be inadequate,'' the bench said and confirmed the life imprisonment.
The bench also observed that the lower court miserably failed to recommend compensation under section 357-A CrPC and under the provisions of the Union Territory of Puducherry Victims Assistance Scheme 2012, to her father. "We would like to rectify the above failure by directing the Puducherry State Legal Services Authority to award a sum of Rs. 3 lakh to him,” the bench said.
The bench, referring to the recent murder of another software engineer Swathi, said “even before we could sit to write this judgment, we have heard of similar incident, where yet another girl has fallen victim of a brutal attack in the Nungambakkam Railway Station in broad day light in full public view. The recurrence of these kinds of brutal murders of young girls, either out of sexual obsession or failure of love or for any other reason would tend to create a sense of insecurity among the womenfolk. We believe that in order to check recurrence of these kinds of heinous crimes the Police and the other authorities should act with iron hands to bring to book the culprits to have speedy trials and to get deterrent punishments,” the bench added and dismissed the appeal.