Says no hesitation in concluding the boy died of gun shot injuries
The Madras High Court on Thursday confirmed life imprisonment on K. Ramaraj, retired army officer, who was found guilty of killing Dilson, a 13-year-old boy, in 2011.
Dismissing the former officer’s appeal, the Bench comprising Justices S. Rajeswaran and P. N. Prakash concluded that the prosecution proved beyond all reasonable doubt that the appellant (Ramaraj) had fired at Dilson with his rifle resulting in the boy’s death.
Dilson, along with a group of boys from a neighbouring slum, sneaked into Old Fort Glacis Officers' Enclave near Island Grounds to pluck some fruits on July 3, 2011.
Ramaraj was tried for the offences including causing the death of Dilson by opening fire, punishable under Section 302(murder) and other provisions of Indian Penal Code and also Arms Act.
As maximum punishment, the trial court sentenced him to life imprisonment under Section 302. The court also slapped a fine of Rs. 60,000 on him, of which Rs. 50,000 was to be paid to Dilson’s mother, Kalaivani as compensation.
Ramaraj filed the present appeal in the High Court seeking to set aside the order of trial court. His counsel contended that the evidence on record showed that Dilson had fallen from a tree.
Rejecting the contention, the Bench said, “We have no hesitation in concluding that Dilson died of gun shot injuries, and not on account of any other reason. It is clear that the nature of injuries noted by the doctors cannot happen on account of a person falling from a tree.”
However, the Bench held that there was no material to show that the accused had tried to cover up the place of occurrence with leaves as held by the prosecution. “We are acquitting the appellant of the charge under Section 201(causing disappearance of evidence of offence) read with 302 IPC.”
The Judges also deprecated the practice of the police of taking the accused to the place of occurrence or taking photographs of him in an unauthorised manner.