Quick justice: Kodaikanal court takes just 8 days to convict duo in sexual assault case

The accused were convicted to 10 years imprisonment and a fine in a span of 8 days which is said to be the fastest judgment in Tamil Nadu.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Feb 14, 2023 | 1:42 PM Updated Feb 14, 2023 | 1:42 PM

Kodaikanal sexual assault

A court in Kodaikanal of Tamil Nadu took just eight days to convict two accused of attempting to rape a woman — said to be the fastest judgement delivered by a trial court in the state.

According to the prosecution, the accused, Jeeva and Balamurugan — residents of Kodaikanal — intercepted a car driven by a woman who runs a homestay at Kookal village in the hill station on 4 February, and asked for a lift.

As both the men are known to the woman, she offered a lift and the duo got into the vehicle. Once they were inside the car, they molested the woman.

Unable to get away from the clutches of the men, the lady raised her voice for help. When the passersby noted the ruckus and came to the rescue of the victim, the accused fled the spot.

Also read: Man gets 15 years imprisonment for sexually assaulting minor

Accused arrested on the same day

The woman lodged a complaint with the Kodaikanal police and an FIR was filed the same day. Both the accused were arrested within hours, a statement was obtained, and they were placed in judicial remand.

Taking up the case, the Judicial Magistrate II of Kodaikanal S Karthik initiated criminal proceedings against the accused and sought a final report from the police, based on their investigation. The accused were offered legal assistance by the Kodaikanal Legal Service Authority.

The charges were recorded under Sections 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 294(b) (sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), and 354(A) (sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act.

The magistrate took up the case for day-to-day hearings and recorded the statements, examination and cross-examination of the victim, accused, and witnesses.

The conviction

The case was tried on 12 February and Magistrate Karthik delivered his judgment convicting the accused by observing that the crime against women should not be tolerated under any circumstances and there should be strict sentence in crimes against women.

He added that only harsh punishments will bring down the crimes against women in the country.

The magistrate ordered eight years imprisonment and a fine of ₹20,000 each for both convicts.

All the court formalities were completed in just eight days.

Earlier, a POCSO court in Bihar’s Araria district tried and sentenced an accused to life imprisonment in just one day for sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl.