The Madras High Court upheld the conviction of a 28-year-old man who in 2018 set a class IX student on fire just because she declined his proposal. The court stated that such incidents are on the rise and only demonstrate how men still view women as chattel and want to own or “forcibly take her under his control” rather than recognising that they are human beings with the right to “decide on their wishes.”
The appellant performed this heinous crime with the sole intention that the girl who rejected his love proposal should not exist in this world and should not be in a romantic relationship with anybody else.
The accused fell in love with the girl while he was working as an AC mechanic. The 14-year-old girl, “clearly and unambiguously” informed the defendant in the case that she was not interested in dating him but still he continued to harass her, and in 2017 a complaint was also made against him. The court stated that the police investigation “caused an animosity towards the victim and the fury of the appellant.”
The accused approached the victim on a two-wheeler on February 16, 2018, as she and her friends were riding home from school. The accused then restrained the victim. According to the police report, he then soaked her in gasoline and lit her on fire with a cigarette.
The girl’s entire body was burned, and on February 27, 2018, she passed away from her wounds. In 2019, the accused Balamurugan received a life sentence after being found guilty under Sections 302 and 342 of the IPC.
Although his lawyer pointed out a number of “discrepancies” in the prosecution’s evidence in the appeal, the division bench was convinced that there was sufficient evidence to establish the appellant’s guilt.
CASE: Balamurugan v State