The Madras High Court today upheld a trial court order
convicting and sentencing Yuvaraj and seven others in the sensational dalit
youth Gokulraj murder case.
It may be recalled that a Special Court in Madurai had in March last year,
convicted 10 accused and acquitted five others in the 2015 murder case of
V. Gokulraj, an engineering graduate belonging to a Scheduled Caste, whose
body was found near the railway tracks in Namakkal district.
Third Additional District Judge T. Sampathkumar convicted the prime accused
S.Yuvaraj, who is the founder of the Theeran Chinnamalai Gounder Peravai and
nine others, who were charged of abducting and murdering Gokulraj.
They were found guilty of various offences under the IPC, including murder,
and for offences under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention
of Atrocities) Act.
Pronouncing the sentences later, the Court sentenced Yuvaraj to life imprisonment
on three counts. All the 10 accused were awarded life sentences till death without
Though the police filed chargesheet against 15 accused, the trial court had only
convicted ten accused and acquitted the other five on March 8, 2022.
Passing orders on the appeals filed against the trial court order, a Division Bench
of Justices M.S.Ramesh and N.Anand Venkatesah upheld the conviction and life
sentence (till death without any remission) imposed by the trial court on Yuvaraj
and seven others for beheading Scheduled Caste engineering student Gokulraj
in 2015 on mere suspicion that he was in love with a girl belonging to Kongu
While stating the trial court was right in awarding the life sentence without
remission, the Bench however, reduced the life sentence of two convicts–
M.Prabhu and P. Giridhar–to five years rigorous imprisonment after convicting
them on only two charges, including harbouring an offender, under the IPC.
Dismissing a plea filed by the victim’s mother and the prosecution against the
trial court’s decision to acquit five other accused, the Bench held that the
trial court had given plausible reasons for not finding any reason to convict
Also dismissing another appeal by her to increase the punishment of all convicts
to death sentence, the Bench said the prosecution has successfully established
the chain of events and prove its case.
The Bench said it found no perversity in the trial court’s judgement convicting
To arrive at such conclusion, the High Court said, it examined nine points,
including the chain of events, Gokulraj’s visit to temple with Swathi, the
woman he was allegedly in a relationship with, Gokulraj’s severed torso being
recovered, the fact that Gokulraj’s death was homicidal, the motive behind the
crime, the last seen theory, Yuvaraj’s conduct after the incident, and scientific
evidence produced in the case.
All evidence was examined meticulously and the Court has not been swayed by
media reports or public sentiments, the judgment said.
“We remained conscious of the fact that moral conviction has no place in criminal
jurisprudence,” the bench said.
The Court also issued a word of caution to litigants and trial courts saying that
no one can be permitted to make a mockery of the law by allowing prime witnesses
to turn hostile.
It also said it had issued a slew of directions and a standard procedure that was
to be followed henceforth, in all cases where the prosecution cases hinge upon
CCTV footages and such electronic evidence.
Gokulraj, an engineering student, went missing on June 23, 2015. He was last seen
along with a woman friend at the Arthanareeswarar temple at Tiruchengode. Later,
his headless body was found by the railway track in Tamil Nadu’s Namakkal district.
The case was initially considered a suspicious death. But was later altered to
murder after the postmortem showed that the victim was strangled.
It was later proved in court that Gokulraj had been killed as he was a Dalit,
and the woman he was allegedly in a relationship with, belonged to the dominant
The assailants had also forced Gokulraj to write a suicide note, besides recording
a video of him claiming to have decided to commit suicide because of love failure.