Written by: Smita Pandey (Intern)
Edited by: Anubhav Yadav (Content Head & Developer)
The accused/appellant wanted to marry the victim but her parents objected, so he spilled acid on her while she was strolling down a public route in an attempt to get vengeance. The acid attack inflicted her with severe corrosive injuries, disfiguring her face and body, and the acid also injured a small kid, who had damage to his face and head.
The Sessions Jury convicted the defendant to a lifetime in prison and a fine of Rs. 10 lakhs under Section 326A, and to life in prison and a fine of Rs. 50,000 under Section 307. Unsatisfied with the decision of the session court, the accused filed a criminal appeal with the HC under Section 374 (2) of the CrPC, requesting that the judgment be set aside.
The appellant’s counsel argued that the Sessions court’s ruling was incorrect since the evidence was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt because the witness stated that the appellant was wearing a helmet throughout the attack, and it could not be proven that he was the attacker. He further claimed that there was a delay in filing the FIR, and that the victim took advantage of the delay to frame the defendants. He further claimed that the injury and eyewitness testimonies were discordant, and that the conviction was predicated on assumptions and presumptions.
The counsel for the defendant contested the ruling, claiming that while the victim was walking home from school, the accused urged her to halt near the intersection and threw acid on her, proving that the accused was the attacker. He further claimed that the witness who sold the acid to the defendant testified under oath that the defendant asked for acid from him and that it was given to him in a bottle. He claimed that the Sessions court evaluated both oral and documentary evidence before concluding that the accused was responsible for throwing acid on the victim’s face and other areas of her body.
RECENT JUDGMENT OF HIGH COURT
The Karnataka High Court said, “Acid attack is a crime against basic human rights and also undermines the most cherished fundamental rights provided under Article 27 of the Indian Constitution.” The division bench of Justice B Veerappa and Justice V Srishananda said in confirming the sentence of life imprisonment imposed on Mahesha (32), a jilted lover, which “the accused cannot treat the victim as a slave and pour acid on her face and body”. According to the court, “the best barometer of a nation’s advancement is its treatment of its women,” said Swami Vivekananda, a great saint and scholar of our country. As a result, the accused acid attacked on PW.8 in order to fulfill his desire to marry her against her will and the wishes of her parents is a violation of her personal liberty as defined by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
“While evaluating the imposition of suitable punishment, the court must not only keep in mind the rights of the offender, but also the rights of the victim of the crime and society at large,” it continued. In this situation, the damage caused by the accused throwing acid on the victim is enormous, irreversible, and unrecoverable, and the victim will have to suffer for the rest of her life. As a result, the accused is not entitled to any leniency or mercy.
“In the event that a person is condemned for many offences, including one that carries a life term, the proviso to Section 31 (2) shall apply, and no consecutive sentence can be given,” the court said. In this case, the accused was sentenced to multiple sentences, including life imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 10 lakhs for the offence punishable under Section 326A of the IPC, life imprisonment with a fine of Rs. ten lakhs for the offence punishable under Section 326A of the IPC, and life imprisonment with a fine of Rs.50, 000/-for the offence punishable under Section 307 of the IPC with a default sentence. It is well established that a life sentence entails incarceration until the end of the convict’s normal life, and that it cannot be ordered to continue consecutively.