Death of Dalit siblings in Kerala: HC sets aside acquittal of accused, orders re trial

The Kerala High Court on Monday ordered re-trial in the case relating to the rape-death of two minor Dalit siblings in Walayar, Palakkad district in Kerala.

A Division Bench of the High Court also set aside the verdict of the Palakkad Special Court for POCSO cases acquitting all the accused in the case.

“… we are fully convinced that the perfunctory initial investigation and cursory, desultory and unskilled prosecution coupled with the lack of involvement by the trial Judge resulted in miscarriage of justice and the consequential unmerited acquittals in all these cases. Certainly, the fact situations in these cases reveal extraordinary circumstances requiring extraordinary remedies. Therefore, we have no hesitation to hold that trial in all the above Sessions Cases have been lowered to the level of mock trials”, the High Court observed.

HC also found that the trial prosecutor had utterly failed in adducing proper evidence.

Court further underscored that cases involving the sexual assault of children of tender age, more so when they hail from socially and economically weaker classes, “should be handled with utmost care and caution.”

Justices A Hariprasad and MR Anitha directed the accused to surrender before the Special Court on January 20.

The acquitted accused are Madhu alias Valya Madhu, Madhu alias Kutti Madhu, Shibu, and Pradeep Kumar. Pradeep died by suicide when the appeals were pending before the High Court.

The Dalit girls, aged 13 and nine, were found dead inside their one-room home in 52 days apart in Wayalar in Palakkad. The 13-year-old girl was found dead on January 13, 2017, while her sister, a nine-year-old was found dead on March 4 in the same house.