In a rare incident, the Madras High Court released a mother, convicted for killing her two daughters, on probation of good conduct under Section 4 of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958. Justice Bharatha Chakravarthy saw the case as a testimony to the gender inequality prevailing in the country.
The mother, who had birthed three girl children, being unable to bear the taunt of the society that she was an unfortunate woman to bear only female children, had administered poison to her second and third daughters aged 3 years and 18 months respectively.
The court found it to be a case of "Nalla Thangal syndrome" wherein unable to bear the taunt of the society, the state of mind of the mother led her to attempt suicide and kill her children along with it. This concept of "state of mind" had been previously considered by the court in the case of Suyambukani Vs. State of Tamil Nadu and was later reiterated by a division bench in Poovammal Vs. State.
It is a matter of great pain that the appellant/ accused, being the mother, should feel ashamed for giving birth to female children and even would attempt to commit suicide and to kill the children.
The court thus agreed with the order of the trial court where the court convicted the mother under Section 304(ii) IPC instead of Section 302 IPC
Therefore, I am of the view that the Trial Court had rightly followed the dictum of the judgment in Suyambukani's case (cited supra) and refused to convict the appellant/accused for the offence under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and convicted her under Section 304(ii) (2 counts) of the Indian Penal Code.
However, upon being informed that the mother had begotten one more female child, the court summoned the mother to the court wherein the mother broke down. Expressing remorse over the incident, she submitted that she now understood that a girl child is as good as male child and that she now had the courage to face the society. She also gave a solemn undertaking that she will upbring both the female children in the best possible way by properly educating them.
Taking note of this undertaking, the court thought it would be appropriate and befitting that the mother is released on probation under Section 4 of the Probation of Offenders Act 1958. The court thus released the mother on the condition that she will execute a bond for good behaviour before the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Fast Track Court, Vellore undertaking that she will not indulge in any offence and that she will ensure quality education for her children and shall upbring them in the best possible manner.
She was also directed to appear before the trial court once after two years and re-affirm the continuation of education and quality upbringing of the children. Her husband was also directed to execute a bond standing as surety ensuring the compliance of the.
Case Title: Sathiya v. State
Case No: Crl.A.No.718 of 2019
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Mad) 311
Counsel for the Petitioner: Mr.R.Jothi for Mr.P.Rathanavel
Counsel for the Respondent: Mr.S.Vinoth Kumar, Government Advocate (Crl. Side)