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HC commutes capital punishment to life sentence

Chennai:The Madras High Court today modified the death sentence awarded to a 23-year-old man, who was convicted of rape and murder of a woman in 2013, to life sentence.

Disposing a referred trial for confirmation of death sentence, a division bench comprising Justices S Nagamuthu and N Authinathan partly allowed an appeal in this regard by the accused Manivel.

The bench, however, made it clear that Manivel shall not be considered for any remission by the government for 20 years.

The prosecution case was that on November 23, 2013, when the 28-year-old woman was returning home from work in a bicycle, Manivel, who was waiting for her near a culvert in a village in Ramanathapuram district, intercepted and dragged her to a field and raped her.

When she resisted, he attacked her and smothered her to death. He tied her body with the cycle using the dupatta and pushed it to a nearby canal.

The Mahila Court in Tiruvarur district had on September 20 last year awarded death sentence to him and referred the trial for confirmation to the high court. Manivel had also preferred an appeal against the order.

Holding that the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that it was Manuel who had raped and murdered the women and later thrown the body into the canal to destroy evidence.

Therefore, the trial court was right in convicting the accused.

However, “coming to quantum of punishment, in our considered view, this case would not fall within the category of rarest of rare cases”, the bench said, and commuted the death penalty to life sentence.