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COURT REDUCES THE SENTENCE TO LIFE TIME IMPRSIONMENT IN KATTAI RAJA CASE: MADRAS HIGH COURT.

THE MADRAS HIGHCOURT PASSED A JUDGMENT ON 30.08.2022. In the case of State of Tamil Nadu v Kattai (W.P.(MD)Nos.9701 to 9703 of) 20140.08.2022. case related to a reference made by the Additional District and Sessions Judge under S. 366 Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for confirmation of the death sentence awarded to Kattai Raja and the criminal appeal filed by him challenging the conviction and sentence, the division bench of P. N Prakash and R. Hemalatha,

FACTS OF THE CASE.

A horrifying murder was committed by Kattai raja aided by four of his accomplices by repeatedly attacking the victim’s head and hands with a bill hook. Further, as per the FIR, the time of the complaint was 3.30 p.m., on 18.06.2013, however, the FIR reached the concerned Magistrate only at 12.30 a.m. on 19.06.2013

The Court held that delayed FIR even by some hours would not by itself adversely affect the case of the prosecution and in some instances, it may not be treated fatal to the prosecution.

The Court, while taking note of all the evidence, viewed that a brutal nature of the assault has been inflicted on the victim and the wild and bizarre attack and the resultant injuries are heart rending. Further, there have been multiple fractures on the two thighs and the skull, and the neck opened up in the attack exposing the brain, blood vessels and other internal organs.

JUDGMENT

The Court, by applying the principles laid down in Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab , viewed that the victim himself had borrowed money from Kattai Raja knowing well his full credentials. Further, murders for disputes involving money, land and women are very common and even though this murder, was shocking, but does not come within the category of “rarest of rare cases” for awarding capital punishment. The Court reduced the punishment to imprisonment for life, with a condition that Kattai raja must not be entitled to any remission benefits for a period of 25 years in the light of the decision in Sahib Hussain Alias Sahib Jan v. State of Rajasthan.

Therefore the Court held that this is yet another ‘run-of-the mill case’ and not a case falling under the category of ‘rarest of rare cases’ for awarding death penalty, thus, modified the punishment to life imprisonment without any remission benefits for 25 years and to pay a fine of Rs.10,000/-, and in default, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of six months.

JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY KUNMUN DAS

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