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Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the death sentence and dismissed the petition of a man who had sought review of its original verdict for raping a minor and murdering her and sibling nine years ago in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.

A three-judge bench by majority of 2:1 held the crime committed by convict Manoharan as “rarest of rare case” category and ruled he did not deserve any sympathy. “Your crime has shaken society’s conscience”, the bench observed. Justices RF Nariman and Surya Kant upheld the death penalty while Justice Sanjiv Khanna said although he was also affirming the conviction, the punishment of life imprisonment without remission should be adequate. But the majority judgement also said that it was unlikely that the convict, if set free, would refrain from committing such crime yet again.

On August 1, the Supreme Court had upheld Madras High Court and a trial court order that has awarded the death penalty to Manoharan, saying that the offence fell under the “rarest of rare” category. Thereafter Manoharan moved apex court seeking review of the death sentence.

On October 29, 2010, Manoharan and co-accused Mohanakrishnan had picked up the girl and her seven-year-old brother from outside a temple when they were preparing to go to school.

They had brutally gang-raped the girl, and subsequently tried to kill the brother by poisoning. When that failed, they threw them into a canal where the minors drowned. Mohanakrishnan later died in an encounter.

—India Legal Bureau

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