The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has commuted the death sentence imposed on a man from Theni district for the murder of his pregnant wife in 2015 to life imprisonment. Following a quarrel, he had strangled his wife with the mangalsutra.
The convict, Suresh of Chinnamanur, was married to Karpagavalli, and they had two children. Suresh used to harass Karpagavalli, suspecting her fidelity.
Karpagavalli lodged a police complaint in this regard. Following an inquiry, the police advised Suresh and closed the complaint. On July 21, 2015, following a quarrel between the two, Suresh attacked Karpagavalli in her stomach and private part, and strangled her with the mangalsutra. She was six months pregnant.
After she fell unconscious, Suresh took her to Chinnamanur Government Hospital and told the doctors that she had attempted suicide. On examination, the doctors found ligature mark on her neck and her private part was swollen and bleeding.
The woman succumbed to her injuries the next day. Suspecting foul play, the family members lodged a police complaint and a criminal case was registered. In 2020, the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Theni, found Suresh guilty of the offences.
The Sessions Judge awarded death sentence for him for the offence under Section 302 (murder) and 10 years’ imprisonment under Section 316 (causing death of quick unborn child by act amounting to culpable homicide) of the IPC. The sentence was referred to the High Court for confirmation.
A Division Bench of Justices V. Bharathidasan and S. Ananthi observed that while imposing the death sentence, the court should consider the aggravating and mitigating circumstances. After giving full weightage to the mitigating circumstances, the court should strike a balance between the aggravating and mitigating circumstances before imposing capital punishment.
The court observed that the case fell short of the ‘rarest of rare cases’ category and commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment.