The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the death penalty of man for "horribly" gang raping a 10-year-old girl along with a co-accused and killing her and her 7-year-old brother by throwing them in a canal with their hands tied at Coimbatore in 2010.
Terming the offence as "shocking" and "cold blooded", a three judge bench headed by Justice R F Nariman, by a majority of 2:1, upheld the verdicts of the trial court and the Madras High Court to award death penalty to condemned convict Manoharan, saying that the offence fell under the "rarest of rare" category.
The top court took note of the "significant amendment" made to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012" by parliament on July 24 and said that legislature has made the provision of death penalty in rape case involving minor victim.
Justices Nariman, Surya Kant and Sanjiv Khanna were on the same page in upholding the conviction of the accused for the offence of kidnapping, gang rape and murder.
However, Justice Khanna was of the view that instead of death penalty, the jail term for the remainder of the life without any benefit of remission would meet the ends of justice.
Manoharan and co-accused Mohanakrishnan, who was later shot dead in an encounter, had picked up the girl and her seven-year-old brother from outside a temple on October 29, 2010 when they were going to school. They tied the hands of both minor siblings and brutally gang raped the girl before trying to kill them by poisoning.
As they did not die of poisoning, the accused brutally tied their hands and threw them to Parambikulam-Axhiyar Project canal where they drowned.