Case Summary : DHANANJOY CHATERJEE vs STATE OF WEST BENGAL, 1994 SC
The present case is one of the historic cases which deal with the wide parameters of Capital Punishment in India. There is no denying the fact that it was in this very case where the convict was the first of all to be hanged and lawfully executed in India for a crime as rape in this 21st century. Dhananjoy was charged under the criminal sections of rape and murder of a 14 year old school going girl, Hetal Parekh. His name had gone around the walls of the Indian Judicial System for years and the death sentence became a controversial topic and encouraged public discussions. The execution by hanging of Dhananjoy, took place in the Alipore Central Correctional Home, Kolkata, on 14 August 2014.
FACTS OF THE CASE
Dhananjoy was a guard at Anand Apartment, where in one of the flats lived Hetal Parekh, a young girl in her teens. Dhananjoy while working there constantly looked for ways to get close to her, which the victim did not liked and on one instant even told him off when he proposed to watch a movie with her. The victim complained about the accused to her father and mother and after much consultation the accused was transferred to the nearby apartment. Still the accused used to come to the apartment in the name of duty. On March 5th 1990 around 5:30 the accused went to the victim’s home when none of her family members was at home.
When victim’s mother about half an hour later returned from the temple, where she used to go daily, and the liftman told her that the accused had gone to her flat. The mother got scared of this due to the previous records of the accused. Even though she rang the bell repeatedly still there was no response. With the help of neighbors the lock was broken down and the scene there was horrific. The victim was lying on the floor and her skirt and blouse had been pulled off and there were blood patches around her body clearly indicating that she was raped. The victim was declared already dead by the doctor when he was examined later. F.I.R was filed by the victim’s father against the accused.
ISSUES OF THE CASE
It is provided beforehand only that when there is no direct evidence then circumstantial evidence is taken into consideration. In this case also to prove the motive of the accused the court went into circumstantial evidence. It was clearly established by the facts that the accused had improper ideas in his mind towards the victim and after being rejected by the victim and insulted by her father, the accused just to revenge or teach a lesson must have raped and murdered her.
The accused going to the victims flat and after the incident not been seen until he got arrested when pulled together can prove in itself that the crime had been done by him. The judges were of the opinion that the motive of the accused is beyond reasonable doubt been proved. The broken button found near the crime place matched with that of the shirt of the accused along with the watch found that was stolen from the flat itself and belonged to the victim’s mother were evident enough to prove that the accused was behind the crime itself.
JUDGEMENT OF THE CASE
The trial court sentenced him with death penalty which was confirmed by the high court under Section 302 of IPC for the offence of murder. Dismissing the appeal sent before it, the Supreme Court stated that the case comes under the ambit of ‘rarest of the rare’ and there could be no penalty enough other than the capital punishment for the accused as he brutally raped and murdered a young school going helpless teen girl.
The judgment provided in the case became a topic of much discussion among the scholars and have been criticized by many serving to the allegations and the thought of how good does the death penalty serves to the society. Human rights organization protested that the penalty was too harsh in the India’s judicial system since the poor were hanged and the rich got away. The last words of Dhananjoy was itself that ‘ I am innocent’. This case becomes one of the important cases under the rape and the punishment served for it and the discussion over it still goes on.