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Pudukkottai rape case: Supreme Court stays death sentence of accused

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The Apex Court has put a stay on the death sentence imposed on a flower-seller who has been convicted for the rape and murder of a minor in 2020 in Tamil Nadu’s Pudukkottai.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud along with Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala have asked the response of the Tamil Nadu government in the matter.

The petitioner was represented by the Senior Advocate Aditya Sondhi.

The appellant has been convicted for murder of a 7-year-old Dalit child in 2020, after penetrative sexual assault.

As per the information the accused had first made friendship with the child before committing sexual assault on her.

Post the sexual act, out of the fear that the child may not reveal anything to anyone about the offence, the accused dashed her head against a tree and threw the body into a dry pond.

The trial court had found the accused guilty and sentenced him to death by hanging.

In January , the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court had upheld the death penalty which was handed down by Sessions Judge, Pudukkottai, in the case under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act).

A bench of Justice S Vaidyanathan and Justice G Jayachandran said that if a person like the accused are not given the dire punishment, they are surely going to pollute the minds of co-prisoners.

It was held by the High Court that the presumption in this case stood against the accused since Section 29 of the POCSO Act fastened a statutory presumption on the accused.

The bench had rejected the point by the accused stating that there was delay in lodging a first information report (FIR).

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