A Tamil Nadu resident, sentenced to life in jail for raping his brother’s wife and then burning her alive along with her 13-month-old child to screen his horrendous crime, Friday ended up inviting the Supreme Court’s wrath for challenging his conviction.
Appalled by the barbarity of Salem resident Kumar’s crime, a bench of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice V.S. Sirpurkar asked him: “Why should you not be given death penalty instead?”
The bench also expressed its ire against the state government for not appealing against the Madras High Court ruling that confirmed the life term imposed on Kumar by the trial court, and not seeking enhancement of his sentence.
The bench through a notice also asked the state government as to why Kumar’s sentence should not be enhanced to death penalty.
Endorsing life term to Kumar, the Madras High Court had observed: “Criminal trials seldom bring before us such persons as Kumar, accused of such acts of quivering barbarity.”
“One such act of barbarity is the offence of rape, which was more in tune with tribal society and calls for stringent punishment. This case is more dreadful as the offence of rape was committed by the accused on his own sister-in-law,” said the high court.
“And the situation turned horrendous as the accused to screen his crime burnt alive not merely his sister-in-law but her innocent child,” the high court had observed.
The rape and the two murders date back to India’s Independence Day in 2003, when Kumar made advances towards his sister-in-law.
But when she spurned him, he hit her with a kitchen utensil and subsequently raped her when she was semiconscious.
Later, he poured kerosene on her and her innocent daughter and set them ablaze.
In fact, before burning them alive, Kumar also forced his sister-in-law to call up her brother and demand money from him, to make the case look like as if she had committed suicide owing to harassment for dowry demand.