SC stays execution of death row convict guilty of raping, killing college girl and her lover in TN

Sanjeev Kumar

New Delhi, Nov 8 (PTI) The Supreme Court Friday stayed the execution of a death row convict who has been held guilty by the lower court and the Madras High Court for brutally killing a college girl and her lover after raping her near Suruli hills in Theni district of Tamil Nadu in 2011.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi admitted the special leave petition (SLP) of condemned prisoner Kattavellai alias Devakar challenging the March 13 verdict of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court upholding his conviction and award of the death penalty in the twin murder case.

'The appeal is admitted. The execution of the death penalty is stayed,' the bench, which also comprised Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, said.

The top court, in April, had quashed the trial court's warrant of execution of the death sentence of the convict issued on March 27 saying that he cannot be hanged without being given the opportunity to exhaust all available legal remedies.

Devakar had then not filed the SLP in the apex court against the high court verdict.

'Be that as it may, as the period for filing of a special leave petition/an appeal against the order of conviction and sentence passed is yet to be over, we are of the view that the warrant for execution of death sentence, dated March 27, 2019, is contrary to the law laid down by this Court...

'We deem it proper, without issuing any notice, to set aside the said warrant of execution of death sentence and allow this petition,' the apex court had said.

The high court had upheld the death sentence Devakar in the case saying that it fell under 'the rarest of the rare category' warranting the capital punishment.

The HC verdict said that the convict had also cut off the girl's limbs after raping and killing her.

'It was a brutal act on the helpless young couple, that too after raping the girl. The savageness of the act was shocking and such a person will be a menace to the society,' the HC had said.

Prior to this, a trial court in Theni had sentenced Devakar to death in March 2018, saying the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Besides the twin murder, Devakar had earlier attacked a constable with a knife when he had attempted to arrest him in a criminal case. PTI SJK SA