The Kerala government on Wednesday filed an appeal in the high court challenging the acquittal of the accused in the Walayar sisters' death case, saying the lower court verdict was "absolutely perverse and wholly unsustainable".
The state government sought a direction to call for the records of the case, set aside the sessions court judgment and convict the accused for the offences or order an investigation into the crime.
The government admitted that police failed to conduct a foolproof investigation touching upon all areas, which should have been covered.
The move comes after the government announced in the state assembly that the public prosecutor who handled it has been removed and said a probe is on to identify lapses in the police inquiry, if any.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had informed the state assembly that the government would go in for an appeal against the POCSO court order.
Two girls were found dead in Walayar. The elder child aged 13, was found dead on January 13, 2017 and the younger child, aged nine, died 52 days later.
The government, in its appeal, said the judgment of acquittal passed by the lower court is "against law and without any proper analysis of the evidence on record".
It said the findings of the sessions judge that the prosecution failed to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt was "without any basis" and ignoring the cogent and clinching evidence adduced by the prosecution.
The lower court seriously erred in disbelieving the eyewitness accounts of the parents of the victims and even disbelieved the testimony of the girls' mother, the state government said.
Noting that the statement of almost all relevant witnesses were recorded by the magistrate during investigation and produced before the trial court, the government said none of the statements were used "by the prosecutor with oblique motive, to contradict the hostile witnesses or to corroborate the supporting witnesses".
Accusing the police of failing to conduct a foolproof investigation in the case, the appeal said the investigating officers could not detect serious offences committed by the accused despite the forensic surgeon mentioning sexual assault in autopsy report.
It also said the conduct of the special prosecutor in the case before the trial court was "totally blameworthy".
The special prosecutor has not cared to use the statements of the witnesses recorded by the magistrate Under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to corroborate the supporting witnesses and to contradict the hostile witnesses, it said.
"The act of the prosecutor is a serious dereliction of duty which caused miscarriage of justice and affected the entire trial," it added.
The government further submitted that the accused may be convicted for the offences punishable under relevant sections of the IPC and the POCSO Act "or in the alternative to order further investigation" into the incident and retrial of the case of the First Additional Sessions Court (Special Judge), Palakkad "in the interest of justice".