Free Press Journal

Law is not an ass, after all

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DRAVIDA THAMBI Chennai

If you thought the law is blind and devoid of humanity, two alt39 out of the boxalt39 decisions – one by the judiciary and the other by the police – in Tamil Nadu would prompt a rethink.

Police in Ma

durai, a popular temple town in south Tamil Nadu, on Friday last let off a 40- year old mother of three kids who had bludgeoned her divorced husband to death using a cricket bat as she had committed the crime in ” self- defence”. Likewise, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has pardoned a life convict who had murdered her only son in a fit of rage as the latter refused to stay with her after she was widowed.


In the first case, Usha Rani killed her husband Jothi Basu alias Veeranan when he allegedly attempted to rape his teenaged daughter after his estranged wife refused to get

physically intimate with him.

” During investigations we found that Rani had acted purely in selfdefence.

We decided to release her invoking the provisions of Section 100 of the Indian Penal Code which deals with the Right to private selfdefence to cause death,” Madurai Rural Superintendent of Police Asra Garg said.

This section of the IPC is rarely invoked by the police in the country.

In the other case, a division bench of the Madras High Court ( Madurai) comprising Justices N Paul Vasanthakumar and P Devadass commuted the life sentence of a 60- year old widow who had murdered her married son as he refused to take care of her. The son had decided to move out with his wife.

The judges held that the woman M Poovammal had axed her son to death out of frustration. ” The situation ( for committing the crime) was not created by her. It was created by her son. Her immediate post conduct was her attempt to kill herself. So, at the time when the offence was committed, she lost her mental balance. She was not the of her mind,” the court held.

” Indeed this is an unfortunate case. This appeal depicts the pathetic case of a mother having boundless love for her son… Long back, we bid farewell to Hamurabis code of alt39 Eye for Eyealt39 and alt39 Tooth for Toothalt39. That type of penology has become a relic of the past. Now, during sentencing, sociological considerations must also have a say,” the judges said in their order.

However, the bench made it clear that ” we are not to justify her killing because on the other hand the victims wife Vijayalakshmi has lost her husband. Her ( Vijayalakshmi) daughter is now five years old. We have no words to explain the widows suffering too. Considering these extreme ends, we deem it fit to sentence her to six years of rigorous imprisonment,” the judges said. The court then set Poovammal free after modifying the charge against her from murder to culpable homicide and set off her incarnation period against the modified six years conviction awarded to her.