A division bench of the Dharward Bench of the High Court of Karnataka has confirmed the death sentence on a man who killed five persons including his three minor children.
The HC has also issued several directions to the prosecution in cases where it is seeking the death penalty.
“The atrocity of the crime resulting in five deaths including 3 children below 10 years of age and the brutality with which the same has been committed, leaves us no option but to confirm the order of death sentence passed by the trial court, which we do with a heavy heart.
This in our considered opinion qualifies the test of rarest of rare cases requiring the award of death penalty,” the bench of Justice Suraj Govindaraj and Justice G Basavaraja said disposing of two petitions filed by the convict and the State.
The HC had reserved the judgement on the petitions after completing the hearing on November 22, 2022 itself. But it had sought several pieces of information including certain records and reports.
These records, the court said were necessary to issue directions to be followed in all cases where the prosecution seeks for award of the death penalty.
The accused Byluru Thippaiah, a labourer from Kenchanagudda Halli in Kampli, Hosapete, Ballari, suspected his wife of 12 years was having an affair which led to quarrels.
They had four children, and Thippaiah declared that only one of them was born to him. On February 25, 2017, he attacked his wife, Pakkeeramma with a chopper.
He also attacked his sister-in-law Gangamma and his children Pavithra, Nagaraj and Rajappa. All the five succumbed to their injuries.
The Sessions Court at Ballari which conducted the trial against him, examined 36 witnesses and 51 material objects before finding him guilty and awarded the death sentence on December 3, 2019 under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC and directed him “to be hung till death.”
Thippaiah approached the HC against the sentence imposed by the Trial Court while the prosecution approached the HC for confirmation of the death penalty.
The HC in its judgment said that it was shocked at the brutality.
“The manner in which the offence has been committed by the appellant is having attacked two women and three children in the house, hacked them and chopped them resulting in multiple injuries being caused to them and the Appellant coming out of the house and proclaiming that he has killed the prostitutes while holding chopper covered in blood. The same would shock the conscience of anybody and has indeed shocked our conscience, despite us having dealt with so many cases of offences relating to murder,” the HC said.
The HC while confirming the death sentence, ordered for payment of compensation to Rajeshwari, the only child that survived the massacre.
The Additional Registrar was directed to forward the concerned file to the District Legal Service Authority to make necessary arrangements.
The HC also gave guidelines for the prosecution to follow in all cases where it is seeking the award of the death penalty.
These include placing report on the conduct and behavior of the accused in jail, a psychological and physiological evaluation of accused, details of family background, relationship with siblings, history of violence or neglect, opinion of parents, relationship with family members, educational background, socio-economic background, criminal antecedents and history of social behaviour.
“The above reports to be submitted firstly at the time when the Appellant is committed to trial, a second report, at the time of hearing on sentence if the Appellant were to be convicted, third report at the time when the appeal is heard and the matter is reserved for judgment,” the HC directed.