6 May 2023 9:03 AM GMT
Noting at the appellant had already suffered at the cruel hands of fate, the Supreme Court of India recently set aside the order of the Tamil Nadu government rejecting a convict-mother’s prayer for premature release, who poisoned her two children. “Thus, this Court feels that there is no valid reason/justifiable ground for the State not accepting the recommendation of the State...
Noting at the appellant had already suffered at the cruel hands of fate, the Supreme Court of India recently set aside the order of the Tamil Nadu government rejecting a convict-mother’s prayer for premature release, who poisoned her two children.
“Thus, this Court feels that there is no valid reason/justifiable ground for the State not accepting the recommendation of the State Level Committee for premature release of the Appellant. We are not oblivious to the crime but we are equally not oblivious to the fact that the Appellant (mother) has already suffered at the cruel hands of fate. The reason thereof is an arena this Court would avoid entering”, a Bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Ahasanuddin Amanullah explained. The Court then ordered appellant’s release if not required in any other case.
The mother, the appellant, decided to commit suicide along with her children as her partner, Suresh used to threaten her often. She bought pesticides meant for plants and poisoned her two children. When the appellant was about to consume it herself, her niece pushed it down. Upon trial, Additional District and Sessions Judge (Fast Track Court), Dindigul convicted the appellant under Sections 302 and 309 of the IPC and sentenced her to undergo life imprisonment.
In appeal, the High Court partly allowed the Appellant’s plea by acquitting her under Section 309, IPC while upholding the conviction under Section 302, IPC.
After undergoing imprisonment for almost 20 years, she applied for premature release. However, the recommendation of the State Level Committee was rejected by the State of Tamil Nadu considering the cruel and brutal nature of the offences committed by her.
Looking at the factual matrix, the Court noted that the circumstances in which the Appellant administered poison to her two sons is clearly reflective of her being “under a state of tremendous mental stress”. However, despite the best efforts of the senior counsel for the Appellant, it is difficult to grant the benefit of bringing the case under the ambit of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, the Court added.
“….we find the scenarios put forth by the Appellant not covered under the exceptions enumerated under Section 300 of the IPC. More so, when there was no consent from the persons who were fed and died upon consuming the pesticide administered by the Appellant.”
Relying on several supreme court decisions, the Court clarified that it was not persuaded to convert the conviction from Section 302, IPC to one under Section 304 Part I, IPC.
In the present case, the positive recommendation of the State Level Committee for premature release of the Appellant was rejected as the Appellant had administered poison to murder her two sons to continue her illicit relationship without any hinderance; a cruel and brutal act in nature. But the Court differed in its opinion.
“Pausing here, the Court would note that the Appellant never tried to murder her sons with a view to continue her illicit relationship. On the contrary, she had tried to commit suicide herself along with her children not with a view to continue her illicit relationship with her paramour but rather, in disappointment and frustration over the quarrel picked up by her paramour.”
With this, the Bench highlighted that the Supreme Court is not an institution to sermonize society on morality.
“This Court is not an institution to sermonise society on morality and ethics and we say no further on this score, bound as we are, by the brooding presence of the rule of law.”
Also, it can’t simply be bracketed as a ‘cruel and brutal’ offence as the Appellant herself was trying to end her life but was prevented by her niece in the nick of time, the Court noted. Adding on, she had already served imprisonment for almost 20 years. Owing to this, the Bench was prompted to set aside the government order and direct her release.
Case Title: Nagarathinam Versus State Through The Inspector Of Police | Criminal Appeal No. 1389 Of 2023
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