Author: Pratistha Dahiya, 3rd year student at Symbiosis Law School.
Essential details of the case
Respondent: State, Rep.by the Inspector of Cantonment Police Station, Trichy.
Bench: Justice G.R. Swaminathan
Date of Judgment: 29 August 2019
Background of the Case
- For several years, the victim and the accused had been in love. The victim was born in Chennai and then relocated to Trichy to pursue her studies. Prior to the incident, the victim’s mother reprimanded the accused, telling him not to continue this affair with her daughter.
- Agitated, the accused splashed acid on the victim on April 27,2010 at about 09.30 A.M near Shri Gnanaganesan Temple, Kallukuzhi Village, Trichy District. The victim suffered extensive injuries on the right side of her head, face, at the back of the shoulder , chest etc. She suffered severe facial disfigurement including losing an ear lobe.
- The victim was transferred to the Government Hospital in Trichy after receiving basic first aid at the adjacent Railway Hospital. The Sub Inspector arrived and took her statement after she was stable. On the same day, at about 12 p.m, a FIR was filed based off of the same information.
- The FIR was filed under sec- 324, sec-307 of the Indian Penal Code and sec-4 of the state’s Prohibition of Women Harassment Act.
- The Accused had alleged that the victim and him had gotten married legally and had taken defence that he was not the person who threw acid on the Victim.
- The accused gave the statement that he was called to the victim’s grandfather’s house to return her photographs where P.W.2 tried to throw acid on him.
- He somehow managed to deflect P.W.2’s hand but the acid ended up falling over the victim.
Issues at Hand
- Why was the accused not charged under sec-326(a) of the Indian penal code?
- Under What circumstances was the defence taken by the accused outright rejected by court?
- It was pointed out on behalf of the appellant, Section 326 (a) of the Indian Penal Code was just enacted in 2013 and the attack on the victim took place on April 27,2010. As a result, Section 326 (a) will definitely not apply to the case.
- The accused was charged under sections 324, 307, and 4 of the states’s Prohibition of Women Harassment Act by the Mahila Court/Sessions Judge in Tiruchirappalli for trial. The accused denied the charges and demanded a trial.
- The statement of defence recorded by the accused was completely squashed by the court after taking in account of the “Horlicks Bottle” Found as the Modus operandi on the site of attack as confirmed by 11 other P.W.
- The accused was found guilty under all the charges and was sentenced to ten years imprisonment and a fine of Rs.5,000, under the Indian penal code and two years additional imprisonment and a fine of Rs.10,000 under the state’s Prohibition of Women Harassment Act.
- The state was ordered to compensate the victim under the state’s victim compensation Scheme for women, with Rs. 10,00,000 with Rs.3,00,000 immediately for financial support. The rest of the money was put into a fixed deposit from which the victim received monthly payments with interest.
- The court had also ordered Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital to treat the victim pro-bono.
- The court had specified that in the case of the untimely death of the victim, the remaining compensation will go back to the state. Even though the victim and the accused are legally married, the accused cannot claim the compensations as her legal heir.
- The purpose of justice is not only punishment to the accused but their reestablishment to the society and victim reform. With all the facts that were presented to the court, one of them being the legal marriage between the victim and the accused and the accused being the only one taking care of the victim, the court deemed it fit to not make any interference with the judgment pronounced.
- A crime as grievous as acid attack, and that too at the time when even the supreme court took into cognizance of the seriousness of the crime and put a ban on the sale of acid. It would have without a doubt sent a very wrong signal if the sentence of the accused would have been reduced.