Tamil Nadu

Madras HC stays execution in Coimbatore siblings murder case

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Convict was to be executed on December 2

The Madras High Court has stayed the execution of a warrant issued by a Mahila Court in Coimbatore on Monday for hanging to death R. Manoharan, convicted for abduction, rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl apart from the murder of her seven-year-old brother, after subjecting him to sodomy, in Coimbatore on October 29, 2010.

Justices M.M. Sundresh and RMT. Teekaa Raman granted the stay on a writ petition filed by the convict, who is said to have learnt that a Mahila Court in Coimbatore had issued the death warrant on Monday for hanging him on December 2, even though he had a right to prefer a mercy plea to the Governor.

Senior Counsel Yashod Vardhan, assisted by the convict’s counsel on record B. Poongkhulali, claimed that the death warrant was yet to be served on the petitioner and hence a grave injustice would be caused if he was subjected to capital punishment without even granting enough time to submit a detailed mercy petition.

Finding force in the submissions, the judges granted four weeks time for the State government to file its counter affidavit to the writ petition and ordered that the death warrant be kept in abeyance till further orders. In the meantime, the petitioner was given liberty to prefer a mercy plea.

The court also took note of a submission made by the senior counsel that a death sentence could not be executed when the President or the Governor was seized of a mercy plea.

The judges were also told that the prime accused in the crime, Mohan alias Mohanraja alias Mohanakrishnan, a call taxi driver, was shot dead by the police on November 9, 2010.

Hence, the present petitioner, a co-accused, alone was tried and sentenced to death by the Mahila Court on October 29, 2012. The judgment was affirmed by the High Court and also the Supreme Court on August 1. A review petition preferred by the convict ended up in dismissal on November 7.

While dismissing the review, a Bench led by Justice Rohinton Nariman said: “Mere young age and presence of aged parents cannot be grounds for commutation. One may view that such young age poses a continuous burden on the State and presents a longer risk to society, hence warranting more serious intervention by Courts.

“Similarly, just because the now deceased co-accused Mohanakrishnan was the mastermind, whose offence was comparatively more egregious, we cannot commute the otherwise barbarically shocking offences of the petitioner. We are also not inclined to give leeway of the lack of criminal record, considering that the current crime was not just one offence, but comprised of multiple offences over the series of many hours.

“The present case is essentially one where two accused misused societal trust to hold as captive two innocent school-going children, one of whom was brutally raped and sodomised, and thereupon administered poison and finally, drowned by throwing them into a canal.

“It was not in the spur of the moment or a crime of passion; but craftily planned, meticulously executed and with multiple opportunities to cease and desist. We are of the view that the present offence(s) of the petitioner are so grave as to shock the conscience of this court and of society and would without doubt amount to rarest of the rare.”

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 4:35:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/madras-hc-stays-execution-in-coimbatore-siblings-murder-case/article30100793.ece

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