Supreme Court Orders Release of Woman Convicted for Murder, Rejects Morality Preaching

In a recent verdict, the Supreme Court of India has emphasized that the role of the court is not to sermonize society on morality and ethics but rather to uphold the rule of law. The court made this observation while ordering the premature release of a woman who had been convicted for the murder of her two children.

The case revolved around a woman who was involved in an affair with a man who frequently threatened her. Feeling trapped and desperate, she made the unfortunate decision to take her own life along with her children. She purchased pesticides intended for plants and administered the poison to her two children. However, when she attempted to consume the pesticide herself, her niece intervened and prevented her from doing so. Tragically, the two children did not survive and were declared dead upon arrival at the hospital. Subsequently, an FIR was lodged, charging the woman under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code for murder.

Initially, the trial court convicted the woman under Sections 302 (murder) and 309 (suicide) of the IPC, sentencing her to life imprisonment along with a fine. The high court later partially allowed her plea by acquitting her under Section 309 but upheld the conviction under Section 302. The woman then sought premature release, citing her nearly 20-year-long incarceration. However, the Tamil Nadu government rejected the recommendation of the State Level Committee, considering the heinous nature of the offense committed.

A bench of Supreme Court justices Ajay Rastogi and Ahsanuddin Amanullah noted that the woman did not attempt to murder her children in order to maintain her illicit relationship. Instead, she had tried to end her own life in a state of disappointment and frustration caused by a quarrel with her paramour. The court asserted that it is not the institution’s role to preach on morality and ethics, emphasizing their adherence to the rule of law.

The apex court highlighted that the case should not simply be categorized as a “cruel and brutal” offense since the woman herself was attempting suicide, which was thwarted by her niece. Additionally, the recommendation of the State Level Committee, which acknowledged the woman’s reflective behavior and the considerable period of incarceration she had already served, was taken into account.

The Supreme Court determined that there were no valid reasons or justifiable grounds for the State to reject the committee’s recommendation for the woman’s premature release. While recognizing the severity of the crime, the court acknowledged the appellant’s (mother’s) already substantial suffering. The court chose to abstain from delving into the reasons behind her plight.

Consequently, the appellant has been granted the benefit of premature release in accordance with the G.O. issued by the Home (Prison-IV) Department, under the signature of the Additional Chief Secretary to the Government. The court directed her immediate release unless she is required in any other case.

The Supreme Court’s recent verdict underscores the court’s commitment to the rule of law and its reluctance to assume the role of moral arbiter in society. While acknowledging the gravity of the offense, the court took into account the circumstances surrounding the case and granted the woman premature release based on the recommendation of the State Level Committee.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Scroll to Top