Death penalty for rape and murder of 3-year-old girl

A court in Odishas Keonjhar district on Thursday sentenced a man to death penalty for rape and murder of a three-year-old girl.

Additional District Court-cum Special Court Judge Lokanath Sahu pronounced capital punishment to 20-year-old Sunil Kumar Naik after convicting him for rape and murder of the minor girl on January 13, 2017.

Naik was booked under various sections of IPC and section 6 of the Pocso (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.

The convict was arrested by police and the court awarded death sentence to him after taking statements of 28 witnesses.

The medical examination report stated that the girl died due to shock and haemorrhage by forceful penetration, said public prosecutor.

Police said Nayak of Sasang village under Champua police station area, was a relative of the girl and therefore visited the victims house frequently. On January 13, 2017, he took the girl to a secluded place and raped her. Later, he killed her by throttling in order to conceal the crime.

After his conviction, Naik claimed he was innocent and said he would move higher court to review the judgement.

This was the fifth incident of death penalty being awarded by a court in Odisha in the last six months for rape of minor girl.

Hate crime in Rajasthan now punishable by death penalty

The bill on hate crimes also provides punishment for holding assemblies to condemn inter-caste, inter-community marriages in the name of family honour.

The Rajasthan assembly passed two bills on Monday in which death penalty has been proposed for hate crimes against couples in the name of honour & tradition, & life imprisonment for mob lynching.

Rajasthan is the first state in India to have a special law to deal with hate crimes against couples, & second after Madhya Pradesh to make a law against mob lynching.

The Rajasthan Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances in the Name of Honour & Tradition Bill, 2019, & the Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019, were tabled in the assembly on July 30 by law minister Shanti Dhariwal.

The bill on hate crimes also provides punishment for holding assemblies to condemn inter-caste, inter-community marriages in the name of family honour.

The bill said a special law for such hate crimes will act as a deterrent as it has severe punishment for such acts of violence & prevent caste & community assemblies that take place to condemn such marriages.

Punishment could be death, imprisonment for life, and/or a fine which may extend to ₹1 lakh.

If cases of grievous hurt to a couple or either of them, the bill prescribes rigorous imprisonment for 10 years which may be extended to life imprisonment & a fine of ₹3 lakh.

For participating in a gathering to condemn a marriage claiming it has dishonoured the caste or community or tradition or brought disrepute, or issuing threats to couples, jail-term can extend from six months to five years, & a fine from ₹1 lakh to ₹2 lakh.

The bill empowers a sub-divisional magistrate or district magistrate to prevent such assemblies & take steps to ensure safety of the couple.

The bill on mob lynching says a person who commits an act of lynching which causes death of the victim will face rigorous life imprisonment & a fine up to ₹5 lakh. In case of grievous hurt, the punishment proposed is jail up 10 years & a fine up to ₹3 lakh.

Offences under the mob lynching bill will be tried by a sessions court & be cognizable, non-bailable & non-compoundable.

The bill also prescribes a jail term of up to five years & penalty of ₹1 lakh for obstructing arrest of the accused, creating hurdles in legal proceedings or threatening the witnesses.

“It is proposed to nip the evil in the bud & to prevent spreading of hatred or incitement to mob lynching by creating special offences against such offences,” the statement of object & reason of the bill said.

The state government, in consultation with a chief justice of the high court, will also set up designated courts to hear mob lynching cases, the bill said,.

Civil society activists such as Aruna Roy of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan & Kavita Srivastava (PUCL) came out strongly against the manner in which the bills were introduced without public consultation.

Man awarded death penalty, wife gets life term in murder case

A court in Rajasthan’s Kota has awarded death sentence to a man and life imprisonment to his wife in a five-year-old robbery and murder case here.

An additional district judge [ADJ] on Wednesday pronounced the verdict, holding the man guilty of looting and murdering a couple at their home in the city and his wife of cooperating in the crime and managing the robbed jewelery and valuables.

The court also slapped a fine of Rs 50,000 on each of the convicts.

Terming the crime as “rarest of the rare”, the court observed culprits of such heinous crimes cannot be left in society with less than death penalty and life imprisonment.

A share broker, Rajendra Agrawal and his wife Geeta Devi, both in their late 50s were found bludgeoned to death at their house in city’s Talwandi area.

Gold and silver jewelery worth around Rs 80-90 lakh was also robbed from the house.

A case of murder and loot was registered at the Jawahar Nagar Police Station against Jagdish Chand, who was Agarwal’s driver, and his wife Shimla Devi.

ADJ Rajiv Kumar Bijlani held Chand guilty of the brutal murders and awarded him death penalty, public prosecutor (PP) Ritesh Mewara said.

The court also held Chand’s wife guilty of cooperating the accused and in managing the robbed jewelery and valuables and sentenced her to life imprisonment, he added.

The accused was arrested and the jewelery was recovered from his possession.

Chand was in jail since his arrest while his wife was earlier granted bail, Mewara said.

In the 130-page judgment, the court observed punishing culprits of such heinous crimes with less than death penalty and life imprisonment would be injustice and convey unfair message in the society, the PP said, adding statements of as many as 28 witnesses were recorded in the court during the trial.

27% in award of death penalty in 2017: NLU report

2017 saw a significant drop of nearly 27 per cent in award of death penalty by sessions courts but showed an increase in number of convicts sent to gallows for murders involving sexual violence, a report published by the National Law University (NLU) said.

The report titled ‘Death Penalty in India, Annual Statistics for the year 2017’ said that in 2016, 149 persons were sentenced to death, while only 109 convicts were awarded capital punishment in 2017.

Out of the 109 death punishments awarded by sessions courts last year, the high courts commuted 53 cases and acquitted 35 persons, it said.

However, the report also showed an increase in number of convicts sent to gallows for murders involving sexual violence in the year 2017.

It said 43 convicts were awarded death for murders involving sexual violence in 2017, which is 19 more than the year before.

Among the states, Maharashtra tops the list with 67 prisoners on death row. The state had 47 death row prisoners in 2016, the report said.

However, the death row population in Karnataka reduced from 27 in 2016 to 12 in 2017, owing to various commutations and acquittals by the high court.

The report also revealed that as on December 31, 2017, a total of 371 prisoners were on death row across the country.

Jigisha murder: HC commutes death penalty to 2 to life term

The Delhi High Court today commuted the death penalty awarded to two convicts in the 2009 Jigisha Ghosh murder case to life imprisonment.

A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and I S Mehta, however, upheld the life imprisonment awarded to the third convict by a trial court in the case.

“We commute death sentence awarded to two convicts to life imprisonment,” the bench said.

While convicts Ravi Kapoor and Amit Shukla were handed down death penalty by the trial court in 2016, the third offender Baljeet Malik was given reprieve from the gallows for his good conduct in jail and awarded life imprisonment for murder of the IT executive and other counts.

While sentencing the two to death, the trial court had said the 28-year-old woman was killed in a “cold-blooded, inhuman and cruel manner” and “brutally mauled to death”.

The police had claimed robbery was the motive behind the killing.

While seeking setting aside of the conviction and order on sentence for Shukla and Malik, their advocate Amit Kumar had contended before the HC that the trial court had committed error by awarding death penalty and life imprisonment to his clients respectively, simply on the basis of biased jail/ probation report about the both.

Red Fort attack case: SC to rehear convict Arif’s plea

Red Fort attack case: SC to rehear convict Arif's plea
Red Fort attack case: SC to rehear convict Arif’s plea

The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the plea of Mohammad Arif, the lone death row convict in the 2000 Red Fort attack case, for a fresh hearing of his dismissed review petition in the open court.

A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur modified the apex court’s September 2, 2014 verdict by which the benefit of open court hearing in the review petition was available to those convicts whose review petitions were pending and also whose executions were not given effect.

In his plea, Arif had submitted that his case fell in a solitary category as both his review petition and curative petition were dismissed before the apex court came out with the crucial verdict giving benefit to death row convicts that there review plea can be heard in open court by a three-judge Bench.

Arif’s review petition was dismissed on September 2, 2014.

The apex court on April 28, 2014, had stayed Arif’s execution in the case. Three people, including two Army jawans, were killed in the December 2000 Red Fort attack.

On August 10, 2011, the Supreme Court had upheld Arif’s death sentence and dismissed his appeal challenging the capital punishment awarded to him by a sessions court, which was affirmed by the Delhi High Court.

( Source – PTI )

Rape, murder of 4-yr-old girl: Convict moves SC

supreme courtThe Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear on Tuesday the appeal of a 48-year-old man awarded death penalty by the Rajasthan High Court for abducting, raping and killing his four-year-old neighbour at Sriganganagar in 2012.

Besides the convict, his juvenile son also took part in the offence of rape and murder of the minor.

“List it for hearing on Tuesday,” a bench of justices J S Kehar and C Nagappan said after the lawyer for the condemned convict Kalu Khan mentioned the plea seeking urgent hearing.

Khan moved the apex court against the April 4 verdict of the high court by which his appeal against the conviction and award of death penalty has been dismissed.

The high court allowed the state’s reference and confirmed the death penalty in the case.

The girl, whose parents had gone out, was lured by the convict on the promise of giving her some berry on the morning of May 3, 2012, the prosecution said.

Khan and his minor son raped the victim in turn and later, as her condition worsened, they killed her before burying her in a pit in their courtyard, it added.

Some witnesses had said that during the search, they found the juvenile son of the accused burying something in a pit and on being confronted, he panicked and that led to the recovery of victim’s body.

In the appeal, filed through lawyer Asha Jain Madan, the convict said that the courts below have failed to “appreciate that the entire prosecution case rests solely on circumstantial evidence which is wholly insufficient to base the conviction of the petitioner and that too for award of capital sentence”.

It also said that the prosecution’s story is “totally improbable” as the convict and his minor son cannot have done the “sinful” act together.

“The capital sentence at the age of 48 years with clean past, should not have been awarded as there was all possibility of reformation of the petitioner,” it said.

(Source: PTI)

Bhullar’s wife moves SC for stay on execution of death penalty

NEW DELHI: 1993 Delhi blast convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar’s wife on Tuesday approached the Supreme Court seeking stay on execution of his death sentence till her review plea against its verdict is decided.

She submitted in her plea that she has filed a review petition against the Supreme Court verdict of April 12 in which the court had rejected her petition to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment on ground of delay on the part of the government in deciding his mercy plea.

Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) terrorist Bhullar was convicted and awarded death penalty for triggering a bomb blast here in September 1993, killing nine people and injuring 25 others, including then Youth Congress president M S Bitta.

The apex court had on March 26, 2002 dismissed Bhullar’s appeal against the death sentence awarded by a trial court in August 2001 and endorsed by the Delhi high court in 2002.

He had filed a review petition which was also dismissed on December 17, 2002. Bhullar had then moved a curative petition which too had been rejected by the apex court on March 12, 2003.

Bhullar, meanwhile, had filed a mercy petition before the President on January 14, 2003. The President, after a lapse of over eight years, dismissed his mercy plea on May 25, 2011.

Citing his delay, he had again moved the apex court for commutation of the death sentence but his plea was rejected.

The apex court had on May one commuted the death sentence awarded to murder convict M N Das, whose mercy petition was rejected by then President Pratibha Patil.

The court had allowed the plea of Das who had approached it for commutation of his death sentence on the ground that the President had taken twelve years to decide his mercy plea.



Man gets death penalty for killing three siblings

A local court has awarded death penalty to a man for abducting and killing three three minor siblings in February 2011 in Ratnapur town of the district here in Bilaspur.

First additional district and sessions judge Neeta Yadav yesterday sentenced – Manoj Suryawanshi – to death for abducting and killing the children from his neighbourhood.

According to police, Suryawanshi had kidnapped his neighbour Shivlal Dhivar’s children – Vijay (8), Ajay (6) and Sakshi (4)- on February 11, when they were returning from school.

The accused took them to a nearby field where he killed them by hitting them with stones.

He was arrested the next day. According to prosecution, the accused committed the crime to take revenge against Shivlal’s brother Shivnath. Suryawanshi believed that his wife had eloped with Shivnath.

All hopes shattered: Bhullar’s wife

The wife of Khalistani terrorist Devinderpal Singh Bhullar, whose plea to commute death sentence to life term was on Friday dismissed by the Supreme Court, said all her hopes have been shattered after an 18-year wait and questioned why he had been “singled out”.

“The court did not consider our point. We were hopeful that my husband’s death sentence would be commuted to life term by the apex court as he has already spent 18 years in jail.

“We had suffered a lot and we have waited for long…. Our whole family has been ruined. We have not got any justice till now,” Canada-based woman Navneet Kaur said.

She claimed that the system had not been fair to her husband and questioned why those responsible for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots have not been punished till now.

“I have lost all hopes now. Why all this is happening with Sikhs only. Why no one is punishing those who had killed Sikhs on such a large scale in 1984.

“Why Kishori Lal, Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar are not being punished. Their trial is still going after so many years and now the court has ordered re-investigation in a case against Mr. Tytler. There is enough evidence but still they are not being punished and even though there is no evidence against Bhullar, he has been punished,” she said.

Ms. Kaur said that if the government wants, it can still do something to save Bhullar, who was awarded death penalty for triggering a bomb blast here in September 1993, killing nine people and injuring 25 others, including then Youth Congress president M.S. Bitta.

Bhullar’s wife expressed sympathy with the families of the policemen who were killed in the car bombing and added that “how can a single person do such a large scale bombing”.

Ms. Kaur suggested that her husband was a victim of “vote bank politics”. “My husband has been suffering from mental illness and has been under undergoing treatment since 2005. He is admitted in a mental health institute since 2010. Now what can we do?” she said.

Bhullar had sought commutation of death sentence to life term on the ground that there has been “inordinate” delay in deciding his mercy plea and he is not mentally sound.