Exotic Crimes & Legal Implications In India

Exotic Crimes & Legal Implications In India

Vartika Saxena_JudicateMe


This Blog is written by Vartika Saxena from Symbiosis Law School, NoidaEdited by Shelal Lodhi Rajput.



The nature of crime is complex in every society. India is inhabited by people of different cultural backgrounds who constitute themselves into tribes, caste, and village kinship groups and they live in both rural and urban communities. For a long time, religions and superstitions have been a guiding force behind the conception of crime and punishment. Even today, there exist some tribal areas in the country where still incidents of crime are influenced by some superstitions. The growth of urbanization and industrialization has bought new problems and has also affected the nature and incidence of crime. We get to know about those statistics through various official reports. However, these statistics are interpreted with caution because the data compiled is prone to various limitations such as non- discovery, non- reporting of crimes, and diverse interpretations of some crimes in different parts of the country. So basically, no society has ever known its total volume of crime. What we know is only the number of crimes reported and recorded by the police.[1]

Generally, society, cultural factors, totally different family systems, political influences, and enforcement are responsible for the involvement of individuals in criminal activity. Crime degrades the quality of life in many ways. Therefore, controlling crime rates in a country like India is very important. The number of crimes originated in India is more than the number of crimes originating from developed countries. Crime is also found in numerous forms. Organized crimes include drug trafficking, shooting, fraud, murder, extortion, human trafficking, etc. and opposite sorts of crimes include homicide, assault, robbery, etc. But there has been an occurrence of certain incidents in the recent past for which no justification or clarification can be given. They were the most unusual or bizarre cases that shook the whole nation.


It’s always exciting to watch or read a murder mystery but what is your take on true crime? A few years back, the entire nation was left biting their nails and glued to their couches when the Nirbhaya incident happened or when the Arushi verdict came out. And a similar something happened during the Nithari incident, Sheena Bora murder mystery or Unnao rape case. There’s nothing more intriguing than a murder case- and India has quite a few. Even when in some of the cases the court has ruled their decision but deep down it is hard for each one of us to accept it.

Nithari Case

It is one of the most horrifying and gruesome cases of 2006. Nithari is a village situated in NOIDA. The case grabbed headlines in media due to its brutal and rare nature of crimes. The case came to light after the continuous disappearance of (boys and girls) teenagers from the village during 2005 and 2006. The fact that women and children went missing from the village existed at a day earlier when Surinder Koli arrived as a domestic servant of Moninder Singh Pandher, who was a businessman and the owner of the bungalow located in Nithari village. Numerous missing reports were filed by the parents or family members of the victims but no action was taken by the police. One of the child’s parents went to police to register the complaint of their missing girl but the police refused to file the complaint. Then the girl’s father approached SSP NOIDA and finally court when his prayers were not considered by the police. Court ordered the police to investigate the case. Police discovered lots of plastic bags filled with skeletons and human body parts from the drain located behind Pandher’s bungalow. Not much evidence was found against both the suspects but they got arrested. Payal’s case opens up facts of disappeared children and teenagers of Nithari. This was not sufficient to prove murder but the case created a sensation and people were shaken to the core. The case was handed over to the CBI. The Central Inquiry Committee that investigated the serial killings discovered serious lapses on the part of the police in handling the cases of missing persons. The reports were incriminating and proclaimed that the local police failed in their duty to respond to the complaints over the past two years. After interrogating Koli, they came to prima facie conclusion that he was a psychopath and used to carry out killings. As he confessed that he used to lure women and children into the house then murder them and attempted to have sex with inert bodies, chopped the body, and threw the remains in the drain. It is very hard to believe that not once in any of the murder, neither Pandher not any of the house help employed were not able to observe any such activity. Moninder Singh was convicted in two of the five cases against him and his servant who aided him was convicted in ten out of sixteen cases against him. Both had been awarded death sentence and the case was classified as “rarest of the rare”.[2]


Reading the confession made by Koli it was evident that he needed a doctor because he mentioned it several times that a pressure used to build in his mind and he was not even sure of having sex with the inert bodies and he never remembered clearly whatever he used to do with the teenagers and women. His confession made it clear and it was also stated by the Central Bureau of Investigation that Koli was a Psychopath. He should have been subjected to psychiatric examination as it is compulsory under Supreme Court guidelines for every death row convict before he is hanged. There was not enough evidence in this case and the only piece of evidence was his confession before a magistrate. The death penalty is the most extreme punishment so it must be awarded only when the evidence is watertight and even his statement is not watertight since there was no other supporting evidence. He confessed to a lot with whatever charges were pressed against him but then he also mentioned that he was tortured and tutored by the police and if any confessional statement is made by the convict under the force or pressure by the police, it is considered void under Section 24 of Indian Evidence Act.[3] He mentioned that he remembered the photographs and everything else because it was shown to him and the story was reiterated to him by the police otherwise he still was not able to recall the time and it would take him several minutes to be in a normal state of mind after the commission of the crime.


There were certain facts which were not taken into consideration like between 2005 and 2006, 58 people went missing. Some were found. Still, 14 were uncounted for and if we consider that there was only one serial killer, Koli, then what about the other people who went missing. All the cases must be heard. There was only one case against him which was completed to the extent that the President rejected his mercy petition. There were several others in which Pandher was co-accused. Koli was poorly represented as he was not able to afford a good lawyer. No evidence by way of defense mitigation or medical opinion was led on his behalf. Talking about the organ trade angle, a committee was set up by the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare to look into the killings as they doubted the fact that it was done by a psychopath. Missing body parts of children, the mere discovery of bones from the backside of the bungalow knowing the fact that a body takes more than three months to decompose and also the bodies were cut with such surgical precision pointed towards the organ trade angle which did not get much attention and required investigation. In this context, it was also important that a doctor lived in the house adjacent to Pandher’s house who had in fact been charged with organ trade. There were several other questions that were left unanswered.[3] If the case would have been investigated considering all these facts and looked into from a completely different perspective there was a possibility that they might come to a definite answer to all these questions and it could have been different from what it actually looks like. In cases of the death penalty, there should not be even an iota of doubt that the person being executed is indeed the criminal, in this case, there was more than that.

Nirbhaya Case

The 2012 Delhi Gang Rape and Murder case involved a rape and fatal assault that occurred on 16th December 2012 in Munirka, a neighborhood in South Delhi.  The incident took place when Jyoti Singh with her male friend were returning home. They boarded a bus at Munirka for Dwarka. There were only six others on the bus. One of them was a minor who used to call passengers. Her friend became suspicious when the driver diverted from the normal route and when he objected to it, a fight ensued between them. He was beaten and knocked unconscious with an iron rod. The men then dragged Jyoti to the backside of the bus, beating her with an iron road and raping her while the driver continued to drive. She tried to save herself by biting the three men leaving bite marks on accused men. After the beatings and rape ended, they both were thrown from the moving bus. A medical report later said that she had suffered serious injuries to her abdomen, intestines, and genitals due to assault and the damage indicated that a blunt object may have been used for penetration. Bite marks were found all over her body. According to reports, one of the accused admitted to having seen a rope-like object, assumed to her intestines, pulled out by other assailants on the bus. Bloodstained metal rods were retrieved from the bus and it was confirmed that it was used for penetration. Police had found and arrested some suspects within 24 hours. The four defendants went on trial in a fast track court and eventually found guilty of rape, murder, unnatural offenses, and destruction of evidence. Justice Yogesh Khanna rejected the pleas for lesser punishment as he stated that the case “shocked the collective conscious of India” and “the courts cannot turn a blind eye to such crimes”. The court noted that the crime, which agitated widespread protests all over the country against such crimes, fell into the judicial system’s “rarest of the rare” category that allows capital punishment.[4]  Juvenile defendant was 17 years and six months on the day of the crime and a petition was moved seeking the prosecution of the minor as an adult because of the violent nature and brutality in his alleged crime and he was old enough to understand the consequences of his act and most importantly he knew what he was doing. Though it was rejected and he was tried in a juvenile court. He got released after completing three years of his punishment. This incident generated nationwide protests and agitations and was condemned, both in India and abroad. Since the media is not allowed to mention the victim’s name so they called her Nirbhaya meaning fearless and her struggle and death became a symbol of power and resistance of rape.


After attaining a vast amount of national and international attention Delhi’s Nirbhaya gang-rape case became a turning point and the government had taken steps to make laws and policies regarding violence against women more stringent. The case called for a huge public agitation and the public pressure forced the government to take action. They created a high-level committee led by former Chief Justice of India, Justice Verma, called the Verma Committee. Key recommendations were to widen the definition of “Rape” and include non-penetrative sex and create new offenses for acts such as acid attacks and sexual harassment and increase penalties for those convicted of rapes. All the recommendations were introduced in the Indian Penal Code through the Criminal Law Amendment Act,2013.[5] Long lists of amendments were made in the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, and Indian Evidence Act in this Act 2013. Another series of changes and validations were made regarding sexual assaults. The act of rape was given a better exhaustive legal definition to include non-consensual penetration using non-sexual objects as well as non-sexual penetrative acts.

The sole aim of amending was to increase the terms of punishment to set examples in society. The amendments also helped in swifter and faster delivery of judgements to provide relief in time. Even death sentences were included for rapists and sexual assaulters in extremely disturbing cases for instance where victims were severely traumatized and went into a vegetative state after the crime also various other new offenses were taken into the ambit of these amendments like acid attacks, stalking, voyeurism, and publicity or forcer sharking of women.


After the horrific incident the people demanded speedy justice therefore, in light of the same, the committee introduced amendments that were enough to quell the public anger. But in my opinion, increasing the punishment to capital punishment or just the time span will not help to reduce the crime rate. Because at times the criminals think that they can get away with it easily if not now then after some years. So, to actually reduce the crime rate, one should focus on effective enforcement of the law for punishing the accused rather than just increasing the period of punishment or increasing the punishment to the death penalty. This case is a striking example as another change that was brought by the committee was setting up of fast track courts. This case was supposed to be a fast track court that still took four and a half years to be heard in all three courts and pronounce the verdict. Another lapse was on the part of the juvenile justice system which awarded only three years of punishment to the one who was involved in the alleged crime and was old enough to understand what he was doing and figure out the difference between right and wrong. He was kept in juvenile rehabilitation and was inserted into society after completing his three years of punishment with a new identity. Not even his parents accepted him. [6] Although the laws were amended for harsher punishments and speedy trials nothing is done to prevent the crime. The need of the hour is a system that addresses judicial delays and enforces law efficiently and creates a kind of fear in the minds of people that they actually think before committing such kind of brutal offenses. Focusing on prevention is more important as what people want is a lesser crime in the future.


There were several other incidents that happened in the recent past with the same level of brutality or even more. But we notice that the lapse on the part of the police or some loopholes always exists that it always takes months or years to proclaim justice and during that process most of the time the one who faces real struggle is the victim’s family. Sometimes they are threatened or being attacked and need protection but they are hardly provided with that. They did not have enough means to afford a good lawyer and all their money is exhausted in making various trips to the court and waiting for themselves to be heard. It’s just sad that while doing all of this for their loved ones they have to go through such mental and emotional pressure which makes them all the more miserable.

No one has the inherent nature or thought process of a criminal but circumstances and other socio-cultural factors play a vital role in mind shaping of people. As such their acts cannot be justified stating this reason but what we can do is to look into the failure of the well-established system so that further such horrendous crimes can be prevented. There is a huge difference between the making of laws and their implementation. We need to bridge the gap between the two by ensuring that justice is delivered well within time and also making sure that there should not be any lapse on the part of the police.


[1] The Ecology of crime in India

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Noida_serial_murders


[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Delhi_gang_rape_and_murder

[5] https://www.wiisglobal.org/indias-nirbhaya-movement-what-has-changed-since-then/


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