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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Commuted Death sentence to life - Apex court held that the death sentence awarded by the courts below require to be converted into life imprisonment but taking note of the diabolic manner in which the offence had been committed against a child, it is desirable that the appellant should serve minimum sentence of 30 years in jail without remission, though subject to exercise of constitutional power for clemency.= Selvam …Appellant Versus State Thr. Insp. of Police …Respondent = 2014 ( May.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41499

Commuted Death sentence  to life - Apex court held that the death sentence awarded by the  courts  below  require  to  be converted into life imprisonment  but  taking  note  of  the  diabolic manner in which the offence had been committed against a child, it  is desirable that the appellant should serve minimum sentence of 30 years in  jail  without   remission,   though   subject   to   exercise   of constitutional power for clemency.=

“…the root-cause for the perpetrator of the heinous  crime,  his
           thirst for lust, his loneliness in his house  and the fact  that
           the parents of the deceased gone for pilgrim and  take  days  to
           return back, though the girl goes to  school  as  usual  on  the
           fateful day also, but the above  circumstances,  which  were  so
           conducive for the accused, who is a sex hunter, took the girl to
           his house where nobody was available, raped the girl to  fulfill
           his thirst for sex and after his  fond  /desire  is  over;  fear
           crept in his mind and hence he killed the girl by attacking with
           cot-frame (M.O.2) on her head with intention  to  kill  her  and
           with knowledge that blow by M.O.2 on the head of  the  deceased,
           which is a vulnerable part of  the  body,  would  easily  caused
           death, as she being a small girl at  a  tender  age  of  9,  and
           thereby he had committed the offence of rape and murder….”


             The  court  after  weighing  the  mitigating  and   aggravating
      circumstances came to the conclusion that the act of the appellant was
       a violent, barbaric and sinful sexual attack  on  the  child  thereby
      awarding death sentence.=

As a result, we do not find any cogent reason  to  interfere  so
      far as the  findings  of  guilt  recorded  by  the  courts  below  are
      concerned.  
However, considering the facts and  circumstances  of  the
      case the death sentence awarded by the  courts  below  require  to  be
      converted into life imprisonment  but  taking  note  of  the  diabolic
      manner in which the offence had been committed against a child, it  is
      desirable that the appellant should serve minimum sentence of 30 years
      in  jail  without   remission,   though   subject   to   exercise   of
      constitutional power for clemency.
2014 ( May.Part) http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41499
B.S. CHAUHAN, J. CHELAMESWAR, M.Y. EQBAL

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                       CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                      CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1287 of 2011


      Selvam
          …Appellant




                                   Versus


      State Thr. Insp. of Police
      …Respondent




                               J U D G M E N T


      Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN, J.


      1.    This appeal  arises  out  of  final  judgment  and  order  dated
      21.9.2010 passed by the High Court of Judicature at Madras in Referred
      Trial No. 1 of 2010 and Criminal Appeal No. 299 of 2010 confirming the
      judgment and order of death sentence dated  12.3.2010  passed  by  the
      Additional Sessions Judge, Salem in S.C.No. 198 of 2009.


      2.    The facts and circumstances arising out of this Criminal  Appeal
      are that:
      A.     Murugesan (PW.1) and his wife Indirani (PW.2) had  left  for  a
      Padayatra to Palani hills  leaving  their  daughter  Palaniammal,  the
      deceased herein, aged 9 years and studying in  fourth  standard,  with
      her grandfather Karnaiyan (PW.3).
      B.    On 12.2.2009, the deceased had left for her school at 8.30  a.m.
      after informing Valli (PW.4).  Since the deceased did not return  from
      the school as usual, Karnaiyan (PW.3) after making a search,  conveyed
      the message over the  phone  to   her  parents  Murugesan  (PW.1)  and
      Indirani (PW.2).
      C.    In early hours  of  13.2.2009,  Murugesan  (PW.1)  and  Indirani
      (PW.2) returned home and  after  making  a  search  got  registered  a
      missing complaint of her daughter.
      D.    On the same day, the accused Selvam, appellant herein,  appeared
      before Vijayan (PW.9), the Village Administrative Officer (V.A.O)  and
      made a confessional statement. Vijayan (PW.9) produced  the  appellant
      before the police and another confessional statement was  recorded  on
      the basis of which, the case of missing person was converted into  one
      under Sections 302, 376, 379  and  201  of  Indian  Penal  Code,  1860
      (hereinafter referred to as `the IPC’).    Thereafter,  the  appellant
      took Shanmugam (PW.16) I.O., Vijayan (PW.9) and Murugesan  (PW.1)  and
      got recovered the dead body of the deceased.
      E.    A Sessions Case No. 198 of  2009  was  instituted,  wherein  the
      prosecution examined 16 witnesses and relied on various  exhibits  and
      objects.   The trial court after hearing  the  parties  convicted  the
      appellant for the  charges  framed  and  awarded  death  penalty  vide
      judgment and order dated 12.3.2010.
      F.    The matter was submitted to the High Court for  confirmation  of
      death sentence under Section 366 of the Code  of  Criminal  Procedure,
      1973 (hereinafter referred to as `the Cr.P.C.’) and the appellant also
      filed an appeal against the said judgment and order.  The  High  Court
      vide its impugned  judgment  and  order  dated  21.9.2010  upheld  the
      conviction as well as the  death  sentence  awarded  by  the  Sessions
      Court.
            Hence, this appeal.


      3.    Mr. Neeraj Kumar Jain, learned senior counsel appearing for  the
      appellant has submitted that it is a case of  circumstantial  evidence
      as there is no eye-witness. The depositions made by  Marimuthu  (PW.5)
      and Amudha (PW.8) cannot be relied upon  as  their  version  is  quite
      unnatural and no evidence has been produced to corroborate the version
      given by the said witnesses, particularly, about the character of  the
      appellant given by Amudha  (PW.8).  His  wife  and  sister-in-law  who
      alleged to have been mis-behaved with by the appellant  had  not  been
      examined. More so, it was not a case where death sentence  could  have
      been awarded
      4.    Per contra, Mr. M. Yogesh Kanna, learned  standing  counsel  for
      the State of Tamil Nadu has opposed the  appeal  contending  that  the
      concurrent findings recorded by the courts below do  not  warrant  any
      interference. Considering the  rape  and  murder  of  a  9  years  old
      innocent and defenceless girl and the manner in  which  the  rape  and
      murder had been committed, the courts below had  rightly  awarded  the
      death sentence. Thus, no interference is called for.


      5.    We have heard learned counsel for the parties  and  perused  the
      record.
            Before we proceed  further  to  examine  the  case,  it  may  be
      necessary to mention the injuries found on the person  of  the  victim
      and the same are as under:
           “1.   Ant bite mark seen over the sides of clavicular region and
           lateral and upper of right side of chest and flank  and  lateral
           side of abdomen. Both sides of inner aspect of upper SRD of both
           thighs, the inner and back of left knee, bleeding  through  left
           ear. Blood stained cut fluid oozed out from both nostrils;
           2.    Contusion over  left  neck  measuring  3  cms  below  left
           mastoid process measuring 6 x 4 cms brownish in colour;
           3.    A laceration over outer aspect of the  left  ear-lobe  and
           pinnae measuring 5.5 x 2.5 x 0.26 cms;
           4.    Bluish black contusion over right  infra  scapular  region
           measuring 9 x 6 cms and measuring 3 x 2 cms over  left  scapular
           region;
           5.    Abrasion measuring 2 x 2 cm over  upper  part  of  gluteal
           region;
           6.    A contused abrasion over at the level  of  both  sides  of
           scapular region measuring 16 x 5 cms.
           7.    Laceration over right side  of  posterior  parital  region
           measuring 2.5 x 0.25 x  bone  deep  and  it  lies  4  cms  above
           occipital protrudence and 28 cms  above  the  glabilla  swelling
           with contusion over both sides of the neck;
           8.     Curved  linear  abrasion  with  contusion  over  external
           genitalia right measuring 7.5 x 0.25 cms and left side measuring
           2.25 x 2.0 cms; O/D underlying tissue is contused;
           9.    Dark reddish brown abrasion  over  labia  majora  on  both
           sides measuring 3 x 0.2 cms.”


            With respect to the  injuries,  Dr.  Panneerselvam  (PW.14)  has
      opined as under:
                 “Injuries  8  and  9  may  occur  when   having   forcible
           intercourse (with a small girl).
                 Injury 2 may occur when the neck is pressed hard.”
            In the post mortem  certificate,  PW.14  stated  that  the  said
      Palaniammal was raped forcibly, which is confirmed by injuries 8 and
      9.  As regards the absence of spermatozova, PW.14 deposed  before  the
      court that  when the spermatozova goes into the parts of a  person  it
      will start  to  destroy  after  24  hours.  After  48  hours  it  will
      completely disintegrate. If the body was in  a  decomposed  condition,
      then it could not be found whether there was any spermatozova  in  the
      parts of the body or not. PW.14 further opined that the death  of  the
      deceased was caused due to the injury on the head.


      6.    From the  statements  of  Murugesan   (PW.1),  Indirani  (PW.2),
      Karnaiyan (PW.3), Valli (PW.4) and Arumugam (PW.12), it is clear  that
      the deceased had left for the school at around 8.30 a.m. on  12.2.2009
      but did not reach the school or returned home thereafter.   Radiokaran
      (PW.7), who was well known to the accused, deposed that while  he  was
      proceeding to Chithoor, he passed through the house of  the  appellant
      and saw that the appellant was washing the  floor  of  his  house.  He
      questioned the appellant about the same  suspecting  it  to  be  blood
      smell to which the appellant responded that the dog  had  vomited  and
      hence he was cleaning the floor.  Later on, he came to know  that  the
      deceased was missing.  Marimuthu (PW.5) deposed that he had joined the
      search of the deceased girl on 12.2.2009.  At about 5.00 a.m.  on  the
      next day, he saw the appellant going on a TVS motorcycle with a  gunny
      bag but when the appellant returned after half an  hour,  he  did  not
      have any gunny bag with him.  Marimuthu  (PW.5)  identified  the  said
      motorcycle and the belongings of the deceased  girl  as  well  as  the
      deceased itself.  Vijayan  (PW.9)  has  deposed  about  the  appellant
      making an extra-judicial confession before him and  that  he  produced
      the said appellant before the IO PW.16.    He  further  deposed  about
      the appellant making a confession before the said IO on the  basis  of
      which he alongwith the police went to the house of the appellant  from
      where he got recovered a pair  of  silver  anklets  belonging  to  the
      deceased and also pointed out the TVS motorcycle. He  further  deposed
      about the appellant taking them to Onamparai Thanneer Vaikkal  Madhaka
      from where he got recovered the body of the deceased as well as  other
      belongings of the deceased  from  inside  the  gunny  bag.   Shanmugam
      (PW.16) is the IO and had  deposed  about  the  disappearance  of  the
      deceased and the subsequent  investigation  including  the  confession
      made by the appellant before him and the recoveries made thereto.


      7.    After relying on the above evidence, the trial court came to the
      following conclusion:
           ?“…the root-cause for the perpetrator of the heinous  crime,  his
           thirst for lust, his loneliness in his house  and the fact  that
           the parents of the deceased gone for pilgrim and  take  days  to
           return back, though the girl goes to  school  as  usual  on  the
           fateful day also, but the above  circumstances,  which  were  so
           conducive for the accused, who is a sex hunter, took the girl to
           his house where nobody was available, raped the girl to  fulfill
           his thirst for sex and after his  fond  /desire  is  over;  fear
           crept in his mind and hence he killed the girl by attacking with
           cot-frame (M.O.2) on her head with intention  to  kill  her  and
           with knowledge that blow by M.O.2 on the head of  the  deceased,
           which is a vulnerable part of  the  body,  would  easily  caused
           death, as she being a small girl at  a  tender  age  of  9,  and
           thereby he had committed the offence of rape and murder….”


             The  court  after  weighing  the  mitigating  and   aggravating
      circumstances came to the conclusion that the act of the appellant was
       a violent, barbaric and sinful sexual attack  on  the  child  thereby
      awarding death sentence.
      8.    On reference being made  to  the  High  Court,  the  High  Court
      carefully examined the evidence on record and came to  the  conclusion
      that the prosecution has been successful in  proving  its  case.   The
      court recorded a finding that the extra-judicial  confession  made  by
      the appellant was voluntary and made in a fit state of mind  and  that
      the appellant having come to know of the ensuing  investigation  might
      have come under a grip of fear and, therefore, would  have  rushed  to
      make a judicial confession before PW.9.  The court further came to the
      conclusion  that  the  evidence  was  marshaled   properly   and   the
      prosecution has without an iota of doubt brought home the guilt of the
      appellant.   Looking at the facts of the case and the manner in  which
      the crime was committed, the High Court held that it was  a  fit  case
      where the death  sentenced  awarded  by  the  trial  court  should  be
      affirmed.


      9.    With the assistance of learned counsel for the parties  we  have
      perused the judgments of the courts below and the evidence on record.
      In his statement under Section 313  Cr.P.C.,  the  appellant  did  not
      plead any defence whatsoever. Rather a bald statement  had  been  made
      that he had falsely been implicated and there  is  no  reason  on  the
      basis of which the evidence of Marimuthu (PW.5) could be  disbelieved.
      More so, the appellant had been seen going on the TVS motorcycle  with
      a gunny bag and came back without any gunny  bag  regarding  which  he
      made the confessional statement before  Vijayan  (PW.9),  V.A.O.,  the
      recovery had been made at his instance and the recovery witnesses  had
      been examined whose veracity could not be doubted.
           As a result, we do not find any cogent reason  to  interfere  so
      far as the  findings  of  guilt  recorded  by  the  courts  below  are
      concerned.  However, considering the facts and  circumstances  of  the
      case the death sentence awarded by the  courts  below  require  to  be
      converted into life imprisonment  but  taking  note  of  the  diabolic
      manner in which the offence had been committed against a child, it  is
      desirable that the appellant should serve minimum sentence of 30 years
      in  jail  without   remission,   though   subject   to   exercise   of
      constitutional power for clemency.


      10.    With  the  above  observations,  the  appeal  is  disposed   of
      accordingly.
                                          ….....…….……………………..J.
                                      (Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN)




                                                   .......……………………………J.
                                                   (J. CHELAMESWAR)




                                                   .......……………………………J.
                                                   (M.Y. EQBAL)
    New Delhi,
    May 2, 2014

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