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Kerala HC Orders Re-trial in Walayar Case

In Kerala
January 06, 2021

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 five accused in the case. The courtdirected 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. “We are constrained to observe that the initial part of the investigation into this case was utterly disgusting.

The probe officer, deputed to investigate into the case, failed to gather any proper scientificevidence even after a week after the death of the younger girl,” the court observed. 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.”