SC to hear Kerala plea for restoring rapist’s death sentence

New Delhi, Oct 6 (IANS) The Supreme Court will hear, on Friday, the plea by Kerala government seeking the restoration of death sentence of Govindaswamy, convicted of raping a woman while she was travelling by train on February 1, 2011 but acquitted of her murder.

The Kerala government has sought recall of the top court’s September 15 order by which, while setting aside his conviction and death sentence for murder, the court had upheld the sentence of life imprisonment to him as awarded by the trial court and confirmed by the high court.

The Kerala government had sought an open court hearing of its plea seeking recall of September 15 judgment.

The bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that they would hear Kerala government’s plea on Friday after state government’s counsel mentioned the matter before the bench.

The top court had upheld the conviction and award of life imprisonment to Govindaswamy for offence under Section 376 (Punishment for rape) of the Indian Penal Code

The woman was travelling by Ernakulam-Shornur passenger train on February 1, 2011, when the crime took place between Vallathol Nagar Railway Station and Shornur. The woman, who died a few days after the crime, was incidentally going to attend here betrothal ceremony on the next day – February 2 – as she was getting married.

Upholding the conviction under Section 376 IPC, the court, by its September 15 verdict, had said: “We are of the view that not only the offence under Section 376 IPC was committed by the accused, the same was so committed in a most brutal and grotesque manner which would justify the imposition of life sentence as awarded by the learned trial court and confirmed by the high court.”

On the question whether the Govindaswamy was responsible for injury caused by the fall of the deceased from the running train, the court had said, unless the fall from the train can be attributed to him, based on “cogent and reliable evidence”, the “liability of the accused for the said injury may not necessary follow”.

The court had also said that what has also to be ruled out is the possibility of the woman herself jumping out of train, noting the fact that the woman survived for a couple of days after the incident and eventually died in hospital would also clearly militate against any intention of the accused to cause death.



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