Indian Supreme Court sentences dead man to seven-year imprisonment
Seven months after it adjudged the man guilty and sentenced him to imprisonment, the SC on Monday found out its mistake and withdrew its judgment against the dead man.
It was informed that that the man had died in 2012, three years before he was convicted and sentenced by the SC on April 10, 2015.
The police reached the convict's village to arrest him and take him to jail following the SC judgment.
But they found that he had already died and no earthly law could now punish him. Ironically, the convict was allegedly killed by his own brother three years back.
The police in its report to the Chhattisgarh High Court attached the death certificate and a copy of the murder FIR lodged by his wife.
Taking into account the fact that the person sentenced to undergo imprisonment was no more, the HC sent a report to the SC informing it that the person had died during the pendency of the appeal.
After perusing the report, a bench of Justices P C Ghose and R K Agrawal abated the proceedings against him.
The deaf and dumb man was accused of raping a minor girl in 2006. He was acquitted by the trial court as well as the HC, both giving him benefit of doubt as no test identification parade (TIP) was conducted by police for the victim to identify the culprit.
Nether court had found substantial evidence against him.
The minor girl approached the apex court in 2009 through her legal guardian challenging the HC order upholding the trial court's decision to acquit him.
The SC entertained her plea and issued notice to the accused.
Repeated notices from the SC did not evoke response from the accused.
The SC decided to proceed ex-parte and went ahead with the hearing of the girl's appeal by appointing advocate Vanshaja Shukla as amicus curiae to argue on behalf of the accused.
After hearing the state government counsel Shashi Juneja, the amicus and the victim's counsel, the SC on April 10 convicted him and awarded a sentence of seven years in jail.
It directed the state authorities to take him in custody forthwith to undergo the sentence.
While reversing the concurrent findings of the trial court and the HC, the SC had ruled TIP was not cardinal to gathering of evidence but a prudent step.
The SC held that since the victim identified the accused in court, he could not be acquitted for want of police conducting the TIP.
The SC had said that victim's testimony could not be discarded and the trial court as well as HC had erred in acquitting him.
"The clothes worn by the offender were identified by her when called upon to do so. In the circumstances there was nothing wrong or exceptional in identification by her of the accused in court. We find her testimony completely trustworthy and reliable," the court had said.
"No other view was possible and the case therefore warrants interference by this Court.
We accordingly allow the appeal and convict him for having committed the offence under Section 376(1) IPC and sentence him to undergo imprisonment for seven years and also impose a fine of Rs.5,000," it had said.
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