2016 rape and murder of Dalit law student: Kerala High Court upholds death sentence

Kerala High Court had confirmed the death penalty after conducting a mitigation investigation in May 2023.

BySouth First Desk

Published May 20, 2024 | 5:21 PMUpdatedMay 20, 2024 | 5:21 PM

High Court

The Kerala High Court on Monday, 20 May, upheld the death sentence awarded to Muhammed Ameer-Ul Islam, a migrant labourer from Assam in the rape and murder of the 30-year-old Dalit law student in Perumbavoor in 2016.

In April 2016, the student’s dead body was found at her home with 30 stab wounds.

Ameer-Ul Islam had approached the high court against a sessions court verdict which found him guilty and sentenced him to death.

However, the division bench comprising Justice PB Suresh Kumar and Justice S Manu confirmed the death penalty, dismissing the appeal filed by the convict challenging the session’s court verdict.

The confirmation of capital punishment was also made based on the death sentence reference from the session court.

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Mitigation investigation

Kerala High Court had confirmed the death penalty after conducting a mitigation investigation.

It was on May 2023 that the high court, for the first time, decided to conduct a “mitigation investigation” of two convicts on death row—Nino Mathew and Muhammed Ameerul Islam, convicts in the 2014 Attingal twin murder case and 2016 Perumbavoor law student murder case—
ahead of deciding whether to confirm the capital punishment imposed on them.

The mitigation investigation, based on Supreme Court rulings, covered the convicts’ socioeconomic background, psychological conditions, history of neglect or abuse that they may have faced growing up and illness.

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The case

Islam was charged with raping and murdering a woman at Perumbavoor on 28 April 2016.

He brutally assaulted the woman, who hailed from a poor family, using sharp-edged weapons before murdering her at her house.

In 2017, the Ernakulam Principal Sessions court awarded the death penalty to Islam, a migrant labourer from Assam, for committing the murder.

Islam was found guilty by the sessions court under various sections of the IPC, including 449 (house trespass to commit an offence punishable with death), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 302 (murder), 376 (rape), and 376 (A) (causing death or causing the woman to be in a persistent vegetative state while committing rape).

The Special Investigation Team that probed the case used DNA technology and verification of call record details to prove Islam’s role in the crime.

Islam, who had left Perumbavoor soon after committing the crime, was arrested from Kancheepuram in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, 50 days after he committed the gruesome crime.

More than 100 police personnel questioned over 1,500 people in the case.

Fingerprints of over 5,000 people were also examined by the SIT personnel, who went through over 20 lakh telephonic conversations before tracing Islam.

(With inputs from Dileep V Kumar and PTI)