05 December 2021 :
The Madras high court on 3 December 2021 commuted the death sentence awarded to a man to 30 years of imprisonment in a case where the man had sexually assaulted and caused the death of a 17-year-old mentally challenged boy in Pudukottai district in 2019.
The convict, hailing from Gujarat was working as a daily wage labourer in a stone crushing unit. In December 2019, he kidnapped the victim and sexually assaulted him. The boy who sustained severe injuries was admitted to the Pudukottai Government Medical College Hospital where he died 19 days later due to septicemia.
Police booked the man under sections of IPC and Pocso Act and arrested him.
In 2021, the Pudukottai district mahila court convicted and awarded death penalty to the man. The case was referred to the HC Madurai bench for confirmation of sentence while the accused also preferred an appeal challenging the conviction and sentence.
A division bench of justices S Vaidyanathan and G Jayachandran said that the accused’s intention to cause the said bodily injuries was not to cause death, but to satisfy his lust. The prosecution was able to establish that the death was caused due to the injury but failed to prove that it was intended by the accused.
Hence, the judges held that the death of the victim falls under the definition of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, since the death is caused without any intention to cause death.
The judges said that the prosecution has proved beyond doubt that the victim was subjected to aggravated penetrative sexual assault by causing hurt, which in turn, has caused his death.
Hence, the judges commuted the death sentence to 20 years rigorous imprisonment for offences under Pocso Act. The court also modified the life sentence under Section 302 of IPC to 10 years imprisonment under Section 304 (ii) of IPC while confirming the seven years sentence for offence under Section 363 (kidnapping) of IPC.
The judges said that the sentences for offences under IPC sections shall run concurrently. However, the sentences for offences under Pocso Act and IPC shall run consecutively which is 30 years (20+10).