Kerala Kaumudi Online
Friday, 22 January 2021 3.51 PM IST

Rape and murder of sisters: Let the chariot of justice reach Walayar 


The Kerala High Court on Wednesday ordered a re-trial in the Walayar case in which two minor sisters were found dead in their hut in 2017 after allegedly being sexually assaulted.

A Division Bench of Justices A Hariprasad and M R Anitha allowed the appeals filed by the state government and the mother of the children and set aside a Special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Court order acquitting four accused in the case.

The court directed the accused to appear before the trial court on January20.

It observed that there were serious lapses in the investigation and that the entire matter needs fresh consideration.

The court also allowed the prosecution to seek permission from the trial court for further probe into the matter.

The bench expressed dissatisfaction in the manner of conduct of trial by the POCSO Court and pointed out the need for special training for the POCSO Court judges.
The eldest girl, aged 13, was found hanging in the hut on January 13, 2017 and the younger sister (9) on March 4.

Both were allegedly sexually assaulted.

However, a special POCSO court in Palakkad had, in October 2019, acquitted the five accused for want for evidence.

Days after the acquittal, the government had, on November 18 removed the Public Prosecutor who handled the case.

Later, the government filed an appeal in the High Court challenging the acquittal, saying the lower court verdict was absolutely perverse and wholly unsustainable.

There are hints that the government will also move in the direction of reinvestigation.

This has been case that has been pricking the conscience of Kerala for the past four years.

This is a thing of happiness for all those who have not lost faith in judiciary.

In today’s high court order there are also observations that puts not only the prosecution but also the POCSO court also in the dock.
What had weakened the case was the lapses from the part of first SI who handled the case till the public prosecutors.

The above case is an example of denial of justice to the weak section of society. The high court’s order today is the one that strengthens people’s trust in judiciary.

Perhaps this may be the first such an incident in the State judicial history. POCSO courts have been set up across the country to ensure speedy justice for unfortunate girls who have been subjected to violence.

The two sisters girls, aged 13 and nine, were found hanging inside their one-room home 52 days apart -- elder girl on January 13, 2017. The post-mortem examinations had confirmed that the minors were subjected to sexual assault before their deaths.
But the police didn’t take any step to find out the mystery behind the two deaths under dubious circumstances.

Also, there were strong allegations that the second child’s was not a suicide but a brutal murder. Most of the evidence collected did not reach the court during the trial.

There were more than fifty witnesses. Most of them turned hostile in court.

The fact that the prosecution was not even interested in presenting the statements of close relatives, including the girl's mother, against the accused in the court was a big controversy during the trial.

To sum up, one doubted whether the case was conducted for the accused.

In short, the case was handled from beginning to end as if it were for the defendants.

The government later approached the high court only because it was convinced of its lapses in the case.

Now the government can form a new team of trustworthy officers and reinvestigate the case and conduct the trial.
Among the five accused one had committed suicide and one is juvenile and his trial is in the juvenile court.

The Judicial Commission had also earlier listed the errors in the investigation of the Walayar case.

The commission's finding that the second child could have been saved from death if the police had acted honestly in the first case is notable.

It is disgracing and humiliating when one sees how lightly the law and justice authorities had handled such an incident which has completely shaken the conscience of the society.

It is comforting to know that the tears and tireless struggle of that mother who lost her children shave found some result, at least now.

The final justice will be delivered to the Walayar girls only when the accused are punished. The Division Bench had directed that a copy of the High Court order quashing the POCSO Court judgment be sent to the Chief Secretary.

This is to understand the flaws in the case investigation and to provide guidance on how to deal with such cases in the future.
Since there are policemen in the police force who work for anti-socials and criminals, such a set of guidelines is very much necessary.

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