Kerala HC reverses acquittal of the Walayar gang-rape accused, orders re-trial

Tanvi Sinha

In a case that has been trying to seek justice since 2017, the Kerala High Court has finally reversed the acquittal of the accused of the Walayar gang-rape case, setting aside the decision of the Special POCSO court in Palakkand on the matter.

Justices A Hariprasad and MR Anitha Kerala on 6th January 2021 reversed the trial court’s judgement that had happened in October 2019, which acquitted the accused Valiya Madhu, Kutty Madhu, and Shibu. The fourth accused, Pradeep Kumar, was said to have suicided earlier.

This comes after three years of the alleged incident happening. In October 2019, the incident had gathered mass protests and outrage from the public for the acquittal of the accused of the rape of two Dalit sisters aged 9 and 13. While the older of the two had said to have hanged herself shortly after the incident in January 2017, the younger had also done the same two months later.

The High Court criticises the investigation that took place after this. They speak of how the IO (Investigative Officer) who was positioned to investigate after a week of the 9-year old’s death had failed to conduct a proper scientific investigation. The autopsy records for the 9-year-old even suggested the girl was hanged with homicidal intentions. The government had appealed against the court the same year it came out.

They stated that the acquittal was passed against law and without proper analysis. They stated that the court had gone as far as to disbelieve the eyewitnesses and the testimony of the victim’s mother.

It was then decided to have a judicial probe conducted by former district Judge PK Haneefa a report of the same was then submitted in April 2020 to the government.

After the case passed to the High Court, the court like the government expressed extreme disgust towards the POCSO court’s orders which had acquitted the accused(s) for lack of evidence as they claimed the sexual abuse caused the girls to kill themselves and that there was no solid proof to tie the alleged rapists to the girls.