BENGALURU: Expressing serious concern over the rise in acid attack cases in the country, the Karnataka High Court upheld the life sentence awarded to Mahesha, a native of Konanatale village of Honnali taluk in Davanagere district, by the trial court for having attacked a woman with acid in 2014. The court also permitted the victim, who is a teacher, to approach the District Legal Services Authority and seek adequate compensation.
Considering the victim’s young age and the huge amount of money spent on plastic surgery, the authority should arrive at an appropriate quantum of compensation and make suitable recommendations, the court added.
A division bench of Justice B Veerappa and Justice V Srishananda passed the order confirming the life sentence under Section 326A of IPC, while partly allowing the appeal filed by Mahesha against the trial court order.On February 25, 2016, the trial court sentenced him to life imprisonment, along with a fine of Rs 10 lakh, with default clause for the offence punishable under Section 326A, while also awarding him another life sentence with fine of Rs 50,000 for the offence punishable under Section 307 of the IPC with default clause.
It be mentioned that Mahesha had proposed to marry the woman, but her family members were against it. Upset, he plotted the attack with an intention to disfigure her face or take her life. On January 31, 2014, he reportedly came on a motorcycle and splashed acid on her face, back, and hands, while some of it also fell on a minor boy nearby, who was also injured.
The court set aside the life sentence imposed for the offence punishable under Section 307 of IPC, saying that it implies imprisonment till the end of normal life of the convict and it cannot be directed to run consecutively. On deposit of fine amount, a sum of Rs 9.75 lakh shall be paid to the victim as compensation and remaining Rs 25,000 shall be vested with the State Government towards defraying expenses, the court added. Mentioning the number of acid attack cases reported in the country each year, from 2014 to 2019 (309, 222, 167, 244, 228 and 240, respectively), the court observed that this case is an example of uncivilised crime committed by the accused.