Imphal, December 30, 2020: In a landmark judgement, Session Judge Thoubal, A Noutuneshwari Devi today sentenced to death 38-year-old Irom Chaoren for rape and murdering his pregnant girlfriend.
Section 366(1) of the CrPC states: “When the Court of Session passes a sentence of death, the proceedings shall be submitted to the High Court and the sentence shall not be executed unless it is confirmed by the High Court,” and sub clause (2) of the provision adds that the death convict should be committed to jail custody until further orders to be passed by the High Court.
Therefore, even if the convict does not prefer an appeal, the trial Court’s verdict against him would automatically be taken up by the High Court Registry as a ‘Referred Trial’ and listed before a Division Bench for hearing.
If the convict also prefers an appeal, then both the appeal as well as the RT would be clubbed and heard together .
The rape and murder took place on June 18, 2010 and the convict was out on bail in connection with the case.
The Investigating Officer of the case had submitted the chargesheet 6 years after the incident and the trial against the convict started in 2017.After a four year-long trial, the Court convicted Irom Chaoren on December 28 recently under Section 302/376/316 IPC.
The chilling details revealed in the Court said that Irom Chaoren had strangulated the victim using his T-shirt after which she fell unconscious.
He then raped the unconscious victim and poured poison into her mouth. He then dragged her to the bank of the Imphal river and submerged her in the river at Chongtham Kona Meitei Leikai area.
The victim girl belonged to the Scheduled Caste community. In the Court, Additional Public Prosecutor submitted that crime against women is increasing and “it is an irony that while we are celebrating women’s rights and observing Women’s Day in all spheres, we show little or no concern for a backward Scheduled Caste girl and her honour” .
The convict not only murdered the victim but also caused death to her unborn child. The crime has shocked the collective conscience of all.
The victim girl was capable of maintaining the family but due to the brutal killing, her family members are now in turmoil and there is no other way to compensate for the loss of life in the family.
Such ruthless murderer has no place in the civilized society and he should be given capital punishment. If the convict is made to live in the society, other innocent women will become his prey and he will continue to destroy the dignity of women, said the Prosecutor.
On the other hand, the defense counsel asked for leniency while sentencing him submitting that the convict is married with two minor children.
The Court observed that the convict had love affairs with the deceased for around 2 years and during that period they had physical relationship and thereafter the victim got pregnant with the convict’s child for about 6 months.
Due to fear of social stigma, the victim wanted to elope and live with the convict as husband and wife. The convict had pre-planned to eliminate the victim girl. He called her on the pretext of eloping at Chongtham Kona Meitei Leikai.
She was then strangulated, raped and poison poured into her mouth, after which her body was thrown into the river.
The body of the victim was recovered on June 26 in a highly decomposed state.
The Court observed that the convict played his girlfriend like an object and not as a human being.
Not only did he rapedand eliminate the victim but also killed their unborn child in the victim’s womb.
Observing that the case falls in the rarest of the rare cases, the Court observed that such cruelty and inhuman act deserve to be wiped out.
Maximum punishment should be awarded which should be an eye opener for the society at large in order to prevent such brutal and heinous crime in society, said the Court while awading the death penalty to the convict.
A fine Rs 50,000 is to be given to victim’s mother.
The Court also recommended for awarding compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the victim’s brother as per NALSA’s compensation scheme for women victims/survivors of sexual assault and other crimes.
Judge with Iron Hand: A Brief History
A Noutuneshwari Devi, Session Judge of Thoubal who delivered the quantum of punishment in this case had also delivered two death penalty to other cases.
During her tenure as Special Judge POCSO Senapati, she awarded death sentence to 26-year-old convict R David of Maram Kavanam village on July 31, 2018 for rape and murder of a 4 year and three months minor girl on December 25, 2015 .
Later, on February 5, 2019 as Session Judge Senapati she announced death penalty for 31-year-old Yumkhaibam Rohit alias Rajesh of Khergao Makha Leikai for murdering his girlfriend on August 17, 2018 .
Interestingly, A Noutuneshwari Devi was the Judge of the Special court (ND & PS) before she resume the charge of Session Judge, Thoubal District.
Then Special Judge ND&PS, A Noutuneshwari Devi had granted Lukhosei Zou three weeks bail on May 21, 2020 on execution of PR bond of Rs 20,00,000 with two sureties of same amount for undergoing gallbladder surgery and prohibited him from leaving the State without prior permission of the Court . The Court during the hearing had lashed at Additional SP NAB Th Brinda for not maintaining Court “decorum” and “threatening” a witness while examining.
Hours after the bail hearing, controversial Manipur Police Officer Thounaojam Brinda had posted in Facebook “criticising” the NDPS Court. Subsequently, the All Manipur Judicial Officers’ Association had filed a complaint against her with the Cyber Crime Department for posting “unethical comment” against Special Judge ND&PS Manipur.