Madras High Court. (File photo)
Madras High Court. (File photo)

Dad sentenced to death for raping girl gets Madras High Court reprieve

Judge says case not rarest of rare, also quashes life sentence of mom

CHENNAI:  Observing that the death penalty can be imposed only in the rarest of rare cases, the Madras High Court has commuted the capital punishment awarded to a man, for continuously sexually assaulting his minor daughter, to a life sentence while acquitting the girl’s mother of abetment charges and quashing her life sentence.

A division bench of justices SS Sundar and Sunder Mohan passed the verdict on the petitions relating to the referred trial and appeals against the trial court verdict pronounced in 2022. “The sentence of death can be imposed only in the rarest of rare cases. In other words, it can be imposed only in exceptional cases. Therefore, imposition of the sentence of life imprisonment is the rule,” the bench observed, citing Supreme Court orders.

After considering the nature of the evidence submitted by the prosecution and the conduct of the father after the crime, the court was of the view that it was not a case that would fall under the rarest of rare categories.

There is nothing on record to show that the accused is a menace to society and there is no possibility of reformation at all and he had behaved properly after the complaint was lodged, the bench said. “Hence, we modify the sentence of death penalty imposed on the accused into one of life imprisonment with a fine of Rs 25,000 for the offence under section 6 of Pocso Act,” the bench ordered.

The court acquitted the victim’s mother of abetment charges, for which she was awarded life imprisonment by the trial court, and directed her immediate release.

According to the prosecution, the father sexually abused the victim girl from the age of seven and committed penetrative sexual assault after she attained puberty at the age of 12. He also employed cruel methods to abort the foetus once she got pregnant. The matter came to light when the girl narrated the cruelty to her classmate and then to her teacher, following which, the child welfare committee stepped in to lodge a police complaint.

An All Women Police Station in South Chennai registered an FIR in 2020 and the special court for Pocso cases awarded him death sentence and life imprisonment to the mother for abetting the offence.

State PP lauded

The division bench recorded its appreciation to State Public Prosecutor Hasan Mohammed Jinnah and the other counsel for their valuable assistance rendered in the case.

Docs rapped for two-finger test

Taking notice of the two-finger test conducted on the victim girl, the bench rapped the doctors and warned them of facing action for misconduct as the Supreme Court and the Madras High Court have already held that such a test is neither acceptable nor desirable to ascertain whether the victim was subjected to sexual intercourse.

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