Bhopal: A man was sentenced to death on Monday for raping and murdering a four-year-old girl in 2018. A POCSO court in Indore city of Madhya Pradesh awarded the accused death penalty, five years after he was arrested for a similar offence as a minor. The case highlights how the prison reform system for minors in India is in immediate need of a complete overhaul.
The first case where the suspect was identified as the accused dates back to Mandsaur in 2013 where he was found guilty of the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl. A minor at the time, he was sent to an observation home where he spent three years before being released and allowed to lead a normal life.
Once out of the observation home, the accused moved to Indore where he lived with the family of a man for a little over five months. He was kicked out of the home after he allegedly misbehaved with one of the female inhabitants. However, he decided to abduct the man's four-and-half-year-old daughter.
According to a report, the abducted girl's daughter and the man who gave the accused a place to live is employed by the civic body in Indore. After a complaint was filed in this regard with local authorities, a manhunt was launched for the accused and the child. On October 27 of last year, locals discovered the missing child's body near the banks of the Khan river and alerted police. A special investigative team (SIT) was then formed to nab the suspect and successfully arrested him while he was trying to flee to Ratlam.
He was charged under relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. A special POCSO court in Indore was given the case and sentenced him to death on September 30 of this year. However, the case raises several questions about the rehabilitation of minors found guilty of heinous crimes.
On the same day, another POCSO court in MP's Vidisha awarded a man the death penalty for raping and murdering a minor girl. The incident dates back to October 2015. In July of last year, a court in MP's Katni awarded a man accused of raping a minor the death penalty following a five-day-long trial. A special court of additional sessions judge Madhuri Raj Lal convicted 34-year-old Rajkumar Kol, an autorickshaw driver by profession. He was found guilty under section 376 (A)(B) of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 apart from various sections of the POCSO Act.