The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the execution of Manoharan, condemned to die for gang raping a ten- year- old girl in Coimbatore and then killing her along with her kid brother in 2010. He was set to be hanged on Sept 20.
The apex court bench headed by R F Nariman stayed the execution till Oct 16 when it will take up hearing a review petition filed by Manoharan. The bench said it was giving a last chance to him as it involves death sentence.
Manoharan, a call taxi driver, and a friend of his picked up the girl from a temple when she was on way to school along with her younger brother. The two raped the girl and killed her along with her brother. They threw the bodies into a canal. The co-accused was shot dead in an encounter shortly thereafter.
The case caused such an outrage that no lawyer was ready to defend Manoharan. This was the argument advance by his counsel in the apex court to seek a review of its Aug 1 judgment in which it upheld the Madras High Court judgment, convicting him and giving death sentence for “horribly gangraping and killing” the girl. While all the three judges in the bench upheld the conviction, one said life sentence till death without remission would meet ends of justice.
In his review petition, Manoharan’s counsel said death warrant had been issued and the execution was set for September 20. He argued that Manoharan was denied due legal assistance. In the course of trial, seven lawyers were changed, he pointed out.
The bench posted his appeal for hearing on Oct 16 “as last opportunity” for the condemned prisoner and stayed the execution.