The Bombay High Court reserved its order on Thursday, on the quantum of punishment to be awarded to a driver who mowed down nine people and injured 36 others while driving a state transport bus in 2012 even as the state demanded the death sentence for him and the defence pleaded for leniency.
The defence lawyer sought leniency for state transport bus driver Santosh Mane, claiming that he had no motive to kill people while the prosecution sought death penalty for him saying that it is impossible to reform him.
A division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice P D Kode reserved the order on the government’s petition seeking confirmation of Mane’s death sentence and also on an appeal filed by Mane challenging his sentence.
Driver Santosh Mane’s advocate Jaydeep Mane, argued that the court should show leniency because his client had no motive to commit such an act.
Mane had put up a defence, arguing that he was of unsound mind at the time of incident.
However, the High Court had dismissed his argument earlier and upheld his conviction.
On the other hand, public prosecutor Sandeep Shinde sought confirmation of the death sentence saying that there was no chance of his reform and that showing leniency to Mane would send a wrong signal to society.
Hence he should be awarded deterrent punishment, Shinde argued.
During earlier hearings, the High Court had questioned if such person could be allowed to be a part of society.
Shinde also argued that as per several Supreme Court judgments, dependency, poverty and age cannot be mitigating circumstances to award lesser punishment on the convict.
Seeking deterrent punishment, the prosecutor argued that Mane went on a rampage and killed innocent people who could not defend themselves. He had several occasions to stop before proceeding further. However, he chose not to do so and went on killing innocent people, argued Shinde.
While imposing the punishment, the courts should not only look into the circumstances of the accused, but also of his victims, he said.
Mane, a former driver with the state transport corporation, had mowed down people in a fit of maniacal driving on January 25, 2012.
He had hijacked an empty bus from Swargate Depot and driven it like a madman until the police and some passers-by overpowered him.