A man standing trial for rape was killed by a group of women and children in court in the city of Nagpur in central India on Friday, reports say.
Initial reports said about 14 women and several children forced their way into the courtroom and knifed the accused, Appu Yadav, to death.
The attackers then escaped from the scene of the crime.
Police, who have launched an investigation, admit that they were caught unawares.
However, the BBC's Zubair Ahmed in Bombay says they also admitted they had to throw a security cordon around the defendant last week when he was jeered by angry women as he arrived in court.
Yadav was facing 24 counts of molestation and rape.
Six months ago there was a similar incident in Nagpur, in India's Maharashtra state.
A member of a criminal gang was killed by other gang members on court premises.