The Kerala High Court on Friday upheld the verdict of the Kottayam Additional Sessions Court awarding rigorous imprisonment of various terms to the six accused in the Pandalam rape case.
The case relates to the sexual harassment of a degree student of the NSS Hindu College, Pandalam, by four lecturers of the same institution and others. Dismissing the appeal filed by the accused, Justice P Bhavadasan also enhanced the fine awarded by the lower court.
Radhakrishnan, a lecturer, who was an accused in the case committed suicide during the course of the trial while Raveendranathan Pillai, died due to natural causes while the appeal was pending before the High Court.
According to the prosecution, the girl was sexually exploited by the accused for 10 days from October 10 to October 20, 1997.
English lecturers K Venugopal and B Raveendranathan Pillai were the first and second accused while Botany lecturer C M Prakash was the third accused. Contractor M Venugopal was the fourth accused.
The fifth and sixth accused were Jyothish Kumar, a businessman and Manoj Kumar, a former panchayat member.
Shah George, a TV serial producer Shah was the seventh accused.
The incident came to light when the victim informed her parents of the atrocities by her lecturers. Her father complained to the Principal, who handed over the complaint to the police.
Dismissing the appeal, the court came down heavily on the management of the college for re-instating the accused teachers. “While the victim, a bright student, was compelled to discontinue studies, the accused were reinstated into service. NSS College Pandalam and its management may have the unique distinction of having accommodated those persons who have committed the most heinous act, as staff. The College management, staff and students should be ashamed off the way they reacted to the situation,” the court said. The court observed that the plea by accused for leniency need not be considered as they did not deserve it.
The judge said that there was a conspiracy in furtherance of which the offences were committed by the accused. “The evidence given by the victim was cogent confidence inspiring and true,” court said.
The Bench awarded 11 years rigorous imprisonment to the first, fourth and fifth accused under IPC section 376(2)(g)(gang rape) and IPC section 366 (kidnapping women). The fine of Rs 25000 imposed by the trial court , was enhanced to Rs 1.75 lakh. The sixth and seventh accused were sentenced to 7 years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 75,000 while the third accused was given seven years rigorous imprisonment and an enhanced fine of Rs 53,000.