Crime against Dalit woman took place in 2015
The Madras High Court has confirmed the conviction and life sentence imposed by a trial court on four men for gang-raping a Dalit woman at Namagiripet in Namakkal district.
Though there were five convicts in the case, one of them did not prefer any appeal, and hence, the High Court dealt with only the appeals preferred by four of them.
Justices P.N. Prakash and R.N. Manjula pointed out that the victim was the mother of two girl children. She had been separated from her first husband and married another person younger than her. After the second marriage, she moved to Namagiripet in Namakkal district and therefore was not familiar with the local residents. Within 10 days of shifting her residence, sheand her husband were waylaid by three men, while two others joined them later who bullied the couple despite being told that they were married. In her deposition, the woman said the men referred to her as ‘item’ and ‘figure’ on a phone call to two others who later joined them in raping her.
The victim had pleaded with the convicts to leave her alone and told them that she was like their sister. Yet, they broke a liquor bottle, put it on her husband’s neck and threatened her that they would kill him if she did not budge to their desire. After committing the crime, the accused left the couple on the road, warning them not to go to the police.
Since the victim was physically weak that night, she chose to lodge a complaint only the next day.
No ulterior motive
Though the appellant’s counsel had accused the victim of having falsely implicated the convicts in the case, the Bench said there was no material on record to suggest that there was any ulterior motive behind the complaint.
“We find from the depositions of prosecution witness 1 (victim) and prosecution witness 7 (her husband) that she is a Dalit, got married to a person and separated from him, thereafter, she got married to P.W.7 who is a non Dalit and younger to her in age. That is not a sin at all,” the Division Bench observed.
The crime had taken place on March 15, 2015 and a Mahila Court in Namakkal had convicted all five accused — Jayasurya, Ganesh Kumar, Ajeeth, Birla and Rajesh — on June 5, 2018.
The second convict, Ganesh Kumar, chose not to prefer an appeal before the High Court challenging his conviction and the life sentence imposed on him.
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