CHENNAI: The Tiruvallur police are seeking the acquittal of a 19-year-old girl who “killed a man in self-defence” when he attempted to rape her on January 2. Senior police officers told Express the decision to alter the FIR from IPC Section 302 (murder) to Section 100 (private defence) was taken based on strong circumstantial evidence in favour of the girl and in reference to precedents and judgements.
The girl, who had a misunderstanding with her parents, was living in her maternal aunt’s house in Allimedu village in Sholavaram. On January 2 night, she had gone to relieve herself when the aunt’s son, 24-year-old Shyam Manoj (name changed), who was married and living separately from his family, wielded a knife and attempted to rape her. The girl snatched the knife, stabbed the man, and surrendered at the Sholavaram police station the same night.
A higher police official said after extensive deliberations, a decision was taken to alter the case. A primary question the police had to answer was whether the girl had any other option to avoid committing the act.
“We learned the scene of the crime was a secluded place in the village used by women to relieve themselves. No one would have heard her cries even if she raised an alarm. Besides, it would have been impossible for her to run in that darkness,” the officer said.
The purpose of the man’s presence at the spot and his antecedents were cross-checked, the police said, adding that various people said the man, who was jobless, used to carry a knife with him all the time.
The girl’s vivid statements matched the circumstances, the officer said, adding that there was no other motive for the girl to commit the act. “Had she escaped, only the stench of the body would have brought the issue to the surface,” he said.
Referring to an instance in 2012, in which former SP Asra Garg had given effect to the private-defence clause seeking acquittal of a woman who killed her husband who attempted to rape their daughter, Tiruvallur SP Aravindhan said he knew the clause could be applicable here too.
A senior officer told Express, giving effect to Section 100 in such cases needs a golden balance and an in-depth analysis of circumstances. Deputy Director of Prosecution T Panneerselvam said the right of private defence extends to causing death when an assault with the intention of rape is made. While the girl has been sent to a government home, sources said a final report would be produced before a court.
- In 2008, the Madras High Court acquitted a Salem couple for killing a man who allegedly attempted to rape their daughter
- In 2012, a Madurai woman was acquitted under the same section after she killed her husband who tried to rape their daughter
- In 2018, an elderly woman from Sivaganga district who killed her son to save her granddaughter was acquitted
- In 2012, a college student in Kancheepuram was relieved of charges she faced for killing her father who attempted to rape her
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