Top
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

"When Public Opinion Influences Investigation Its Very Course Gets Diverted With Exasperating Results": Kerala HC Acquits Accused In Rape And Murder Of Tribal Woman

Hannah M Varghese
23 July 2021 1:00 PM GMT
When Public Opinion Influences Investigation Its Very Course Gets Diverted With Exasperating Results: Kerala HC Acquits Accused In Rape And Murder Of Tribal Woman
x

The Kerala High Court recently acquitted two individuals, Mani and Rajan, life convicts in the rape and murder of a tribal woman that occurred on 30th May 2005.A Division Bench comprising Justice K Vinod Chandran and Justice Ziyad Rahman AA observed that 'when public opinion influences an investigation, its very course gets diverted with exasperating' results'.A tribal woman was raped...

Your free access to Live Law has expired
To read the article, get a premium account.
    Your Subscription Supports Independent Journalism
Subscription starts from
599+GST
(For 6 Months)
Premium account gives you:
  • Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.
  • Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.
Already a subscriber?

The Kerala High Court recently acquitted two individuals, Mani and Rajan, life convicts in the rape and murder of a tribal woman that occurred on 30th May 2005.

A Division Bench comprising Justice K Vinod Chandran and Justice Ziyad Rahman AA observed that 'when public opinion influences an investigation, its very course gets diverted with exasperating' results'.

A tribal woman was raped and murdered in Palakkad district and the suspect was her confidant from the same community. The Court observed that the community rose in arms against the implication of their own following which the police removed him from the array of suspects and proceeded against two other suspects from a different community with a higher caste status. This resulted in the case being registered under the Indian Penal Code as well as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. 

The Public Prosecutor submitted that their case was built on the evidence of Jungan, who had reportedly "surrendered" before a police station claiming that he had murdered her. He was the one last seen with the deceased. Accordingly, he was initially one of the suspects. However, nothing was forthcoming in the investigation to array him as an accused. Later, he deposed that he left the deceased alone for 20 minutes, and that's when she was raped and murdered by the accused.

He also deposed that he and the deceased sat down near the pathway and both drank arrack. However, the scientific analysis of the contents of the deceased's stomach and internal organs did not reveal the presence of any ethyl alcohol. It was also observed that the factum of rape having been committed on the deceased leads to a reasonable inference that there were others, one or more persons involved.

The Division Bench pointed out that the entire narration and the conduct of Jungan were highly suspicious, especially looking at the contradictions he was specifically confronted with in cross-examination. His version of the actual incident was found to be very shaky and full of inconsistencies.

For that reason, while acquitting the accused, it was observed as follows:

"We find nothing to connect the accused to the crime other than the testimony of Jungan, whom we suspect, as being interested in either saving himself or covering up the actual facts. The incident happened more than a decade and a half back and that alone inhibits us from ordering a further investigation, which would be futile especially in the absence of any scientific evidence. Again a woman is molested and murdered and the perpetrators are roaming free; the poor soul is not avenged. We see absolutely no way other than to acquit the accused."


Case Title: Mani & Anr v. State of Kerala 

Click Here To Download The Order


Next Story
Share it