Death sentences can be awarded inspite of the young age of a convict and there are several judgements to buttress it, Chhattisgarh government today told the Supreme Court.
The submission was made before a three-judge bench headed by Justice A R Dave, which is hearing the review plea of condemned convict Sonu Sardar whose mercy petition has been rejected by the President after the apex court had upheld the death penalty.
The counsels for Chhattisgarh, Atul Jha and Dharmendra Kumar Sinha, said there were a number of cases in which the apex court have confirmed death penalty of convicts who were of young age at the time of commission of an offence.
Raising objection to the submission of Sardar’s counsel that the conviction should be re-visited, he said the circumstantial evidence proved that Sonu had played a “vital role” in the crime.
He cited apex court judgements where death sentence was confirmed in cases hinging on circumstantial evidence and there were more than one accused involved in the offence.
The bench, which is hearing the plea in an open court in view of an earlier verdict that review petitions in death penalty cases would not be decided in closed chambers, fixed the matter for further consideration on February 10 saying “We intend to reserve a full day for hearing. We don’t want to put constraints on anybody.”
Sardar, who was few months above the age of minority, was convicted and sentenced to death for killing five family members including two minors of a scrap dealer in Raipur on November 26, 2004 by the trial court on February 27, 2008.
The Chhattisgarh High Court and the Supreme Court had confirmed it on March 8, 2010 and February 23, 2012 respectively. The Supreme Court had thereafter on June 19 stayed execution of his death sentence.
The President had rejected his mercy plea on April 21 this year.