-Report by Sava Vishnu Vardhan
In the case of Nagarathinam V. State Through The Inspector Of Police | Criminal Appeal No. 1389 Of 2023, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India overturned the order of the State of Tamil Nadu rejecting the request for the Appellant’s premature release in the case of murder.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
Due to repeated threats from her spouse, Suresh, the mother, the appellant, chose to kill herself along with her children. She purchased pesticides intended for plants and, in accordance with her determination to pursue this line of action, she administered poison to her two children, Ramar and Laxmanan, who are identical twins. Then, the appellant’s niece pushed the pesticide down when she put it in a tumbler to drink it herself. Unfortunately, the two kids were pronounced dead when they got to the hospital. The appellant’s niece forced it down just as she was going to eat it herself.
Upon conviction of the appellant under Sections 302 and 309 of the IPC, Additional District and Sessions Judge (Fast Track Court), Dindigul sentenced her to life in jail.
Following a trial, the appellant was found guilty of violating Sections 302 and 309 of the IPC by the learned Additional District and Sessions Judge (Fast Track Court), Dindigul by Judgement and Order in Sessions Case No. 92 of 2004 dated 10.01.2005 and sentenced to life in jail. The Appellant requested an early release after serving nearly 20 years in jail. However, in light of the heinous and savage character of the offence (s) perpetrated by her, the State of Tamil Nadu rejected the State Level Committee’s proposal in G.O. (D) No. 1127, dated 24.09.2019.
Even if it is considered that the appellant attempted to poison herself and her children in order to end their lives, learned senior counsel for the appellant argued that this was only possible as a result of an unexpected provocation. Comes under IPC Section 300’s Exception 1. In addition, the fact that the appellant committed family suicide alongside her two boys is an extenuating circumstance protected by Section 300 of the IPC’s Exception 1. Additionally, if the mother had survived or managed to flee while the children perished, it would be illegal under Section 304 Part I of the IPC. In this regard, the Madras High Court’s learned Division Benches’ rulings in Guruswami Pillai v. State, 1991 (1) MWN (Cr.) 153 and Suyambukkani v. State, 1989 SCC OnLine Mad 481 were cited.
It was strongly maintained by knowledgeable counsel for the lone Respondent-State opposing the petitions that the act(s) perpetrated by the Appellant were cruel and violent as young children were given poison and put to death, hence it was only fair that the State had rejected the Appellant’s early release. It was argued that the High Court maintained the conviction under Section 302 of the IPC since both the Trial Court and the High Court carefully considered every aspect of the 6 issues.
The Judgement was delivered by Ahsanuddin Amanullah, J. the hon’ble Supreme Courtdetermined that the scenarios presented by the appellant are not protected by the exceptions listed under Section 300 of the IPC given the facts and circumstances of the current instance. Even more so when the people who were fed the pesticide administered by the appellant and perished from it did not provide their consent. In Guruswami Pillai v. State of Madras, the father attempted suicide as well as killing his little daughter by slicing her throat with a knife. It was revealed during the trial that the father and daughter had decided to take their own lives together. Thus, the High Court in that case determined that it was prudent to provide a benefit by converting the conviction from Section 302, IPC to one under Section 304 Part I, IPC. This was done in light of the background information, as well as the parties’ mental and social conditions, financial situation, and the surrounding circumstances. The appellant has already endured the brutal hand of fate, according to the supreme court. The Court further pointed out that it can’t only be said that the act was “cruel and brutal” because the appellant tried to kill herself but was saved just in time by her niece. She had already served nearly 20 years in prison, to add to it. This prompted the Bench to overturn the government injunction and order her release.
The order of the State of Tamil Nadu, as stated in G.O. (D) No. 1127 dated 24.09.2019, issued by the Home (Prison-IV) Department and signed by the Additional Chief Secretary to Government, rejecting the request for the Appellant’s early release is reversed for the aforementioned reasons.
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