Death Sentence Can Be Imposed Only When Life Imprisonment Appears To Be An Altogether Inappropriate Punishment: Supreme Court

“We are not convinced that the probability of reform of the accused/appellant is low, in the absence of prior offending history and keeping in mind his overall conduct. ”
While commuting death sentence awarded to a man convicted for rape and murder of a five year old girl, the Supreme Court observed that death sentence must be imposed only when life imprisonment appears to be an altogether inappropriate punishment.

The bench comprising Justice NV Ramana, Justice Mohan M. Shanthanagoudar and Justice Indira Banerjee sentenced Sachin Kumar Singhraha to undergo a sentence of 25 years’ imprisonment (without remission).

The deceased kid was studying in LKG, while she faced the horror and succumbed to it. While confirming the conviction recorded by the Trial court, the Apex court bench observed that though there are certain discrepancies in the evidence and procedural lapses have been brought on record, the same would not warrant giving the benefit of doubt to the accused.

The bench, for holding that death penalty is not justified in this case, said that it is not convinced that the probability of reform of the accused is low, in the absence of prior offending history and keeping in mind his overall conduct. The court said:

As has been well settled, life imprisonment is the rule to which the death penalty is the exception. The death sentence must be imposed only when life imprisonment appears to be an altogether inappropriate punishment, having regard to the relevant facts and circumstances of the crime. As held by this Court in the case of Santosh Kumar Singh v. State through C.B.I., (2010) 9 SCC 747, sentencing is a difficult task and often vexes the mind of the Court, but where the option is between life imprisonment and a death sentence, if the Court itself feels some difficulty in awarding one or the other, it is only appropriate that the lesser punishment be awarded.
The bench then sentenced him to 25 years imprisonment observing that the sentence of life imprisonment simpliciter would be grossly inadequate.

Uttrakhand HC for death sentence to those who rape minors

 The Uttarakhand High Court has suggested that the state government bring in a law which imposes death penalty for raping minors, so that it acts as a strong deterrent against such offences.

A division bench of justices Rajiv Sharma and Alok Singh yesterday made the observation, while upholding the death sentence of a man, who was convicted by a lower court last year for raping and killing an eight-year-old in June 2016.

Citing steady rise in crime against children in recent years, the bench observed that it is the state government which can bring an appropriate legislation to impose death penalties on convicts, who are found guilty of raping minors aged 15 or below.

The high court underlined the need for a strong deterrent as it is coming across a number of cases, where the victims aged 15 or below are being raped and murdered.

It quoted a recent report by the National Crime Records Bureau titled ‘Crime Against Children (States & UTs)’, which said 676 such cases were registered in the state in 2016, compared to 635 in 2015 and 489 in 2014.

Capital punishment for man for killing wife and four daughters.

death-sentenceA man has been sentenced to death by a local court here for killing his wife and four daughters so that he could marry another woman in his neighbourhood.

District and Sessions Judge Rajbeer Singh sentenced Ramanand to death yesterday and also slapped a fine of Rs 20,000 on the convict.

According to district government counsel (DGC) Shiv Raj Yadav, Ramanand, a resident of Namdarpurwa in Dhaurehra area, had hacked his wife Sangita (35), daughters Tulsi (7), Laxmi (5), Kajal (3) and a two-month old baby daughter with a sharp edged weapon on Jan 22, 2010.

After killing his entire family, Ramanand poured kerosene and burnt the bodies and tried to show that it was an incident of dacoity and murder.

Yadav said during investigation, police found that Ramanand eliminated his family mercilessly with a motive to marry another woman in his neighbourhood.

During trial in the court of district and sessions judge, Ramanand was found guilty of murder.

Court awards death sentence to man in rape and murder case

Court awards death sentence to man in rape and murder case
Court awards death sentence to man in rape and murder case

A 47-year old man was on Tuesday awarded death sentence by a Giridih court for raping and murdering a seven-year-old girl in 2011.

Giridih District and Additional Sessions Court Judge Sunil Kumar found Mathura Yadav guilty of the crime that took place at Badidih village.

The court also awarded a two-year rigorous prison term to his father Bhikari Yadav for hiding the body in a bush to tamper with evidence.

Mathura Yadav lured the girl with mangoes, took her to a nearby forest and perpetrated the crime. He chopped off the head of the little girl with an axe.

( Source – PTI )

Death sentence to husband for murdering wife

deathA man was today awarded death sentence for mudering his wife and their maid at their residence in the city about five years ago by hiring a contract killer.

The contract killer Somnath Tanti was awarded life imprisonment by the Alipore Judges Court.

Judge Siddhartha Kanjilal, delivering the judgement, said it was a rarest of the rare case as the the two little children of the couple Abhik Ghosh and Moushumi Ghosh were deprived of their mother’s love at an early age when needed most and the murder was pre-planned.

The judge said that he had no other option but to pass the death sentence against the accused.

To Ghosh’s repeated pleadings before the judge that he did not commit the crime, the judge said that the court had enough evidence to come to the conclusion that he had planned the murder of both the persons.

The same court had held Ghosh and Tanti guilty two days back.

Ghosh had a dispute with his wife and he had hired a contract killer to murder her. The maid was killed as she was a witness to the incident

HC confirms death sentence given to 25-yr-old girl

The Madhya Pradesh High Court today confirmed the death sentence awarded to three people, including a 25-year-old girl, in a triple murder case.

Public Prosecutor Raghvendra Singh Bais told reporters that the sessions court had awarded capital punishment to Neha Verma (25), Manoj Atod (32) and Rahul Chowdhary (22) on December 13, last year, terming their offence as rarest of the rare.

Today, a division bench of the High Court comprising S K Seth and P K Jaiswal upheld the lower court’s ruling and dismissed the appeals filed by the convicts, he said.

Neha and the two others had entered a house in Srinagar Main area here on June 19, 2011 and murdered Ashlesha Deshpande (21), her mother Megha Deshpande (42) and grandmother Rohini Phadke (70) in the course of a robbery

Sisters awaiting execution for mass murder move HC

sistersTwo sisters from Kolhapur whose mercy petitions against capital punishment were rejected by the President recently, on Tuesday moved the Bombay High Court praying their death sentence be commuted to life imprisonment.

The sisters–Renuka Shinde and Seema Gavit–have, in their petition, contended that the President had taken more than five years to decide their mercy petitions when such a plea should have been disposed of within three months. On this ground alone, their death sentence may be commuted to life term, the duo prayed.

The petition, filed through their lawyer Sudeep Jaiswal, came up before Justices V M Kanade and PD Kode who posted it for hearing tomorrow.

The judges also asked the petitioner’s lawyer to show judgements which empower the high court to entertain a petition when the Supreme Court has confirmed death penalty and the President has rejected the mercy petition.

Before posting the petition for hearing tomorrow, the judges sought to know whether the execution of death sentence was to be carried out immediately.

Prosecutor S S Shinde sought time to seek instructions and after 30 minutes informed the court that the sentence would not be carried out immediately. The judges then decided to hear the matter tomorrow.

The two sisters were sentenced to death in 2001 for kidnapping 13 children and killing nine of them between 1990 and October 1996. They were assisted in the crime by their mother Anjana Gavit and Renuka’s husband Kiran Shinde. Anjana died in custody, while Kiran turned an approver.

They used to force the children to beg, commit petty thefts and pickpocketing. The children were starved to force them to commit crimes. After having sufficiently used the children in crime, they banged their head against walls and killed them.

The sisters, who could be the first women convicts to be sent to the gallows since independence, are currently lodged in Pune’s Yerwada prison and were recently informed about President’s decision to reject their mercy petitions. The 14-day buffer period before execution expired on August 16.

The petitioners contended that they have been living in constant fear of death for more than 13 years since the time the Bombay High Court confirmed their death sentence and the Supreme Court upheld it.

“The extra-ordinary and unjustified delay in execution of our death sentence has caused immense mental torture, emotional and physical agony to us,” the sisters said in their petition.

The petitioners have said since they have “suffered immensely”, in the “interest of justice and good conscience” their death sentence may be commuted to life imprisonment.

The sisters argued that several cases have been decided by the Supreme Court and various High Courts wherein for similar or lesser period of delay, the courts have commuted the sentence of death to life imprisonment.

They further prayed that they are women and were very young when the offences were committed. When the killings commenced, Renuka Shinde was 25-years-old and Seema Gavit was aged 19. At the time of the commission of offences, Renuka was also a mother of four children.

The sisters said their father had abandoned them and their mother during their childhood and were left to fend for themselves.

The petitioners said the reliability of the approver?s testimony was under doubt and was not fully accepted by the high court while handing down death sentence.

This was also accepted by the Supreme Court during the hearing of their Criminal Appeal. However, the high court relied upon the approver?s testimony to corroborate other circumstantial evidence.

The petitioners said they were leading a peaceful and orderly life in prison which showed they were concerned about social, physical and emotional well being of others and did not constitute a threat to society. The sisters said they have demonstrated that they were capable of leading a normal life.

They argued that their conduct in prison should be taken into account while considering their plea for commutation of death sentence.

The sisters submitted that the Supreme Court has held that unexplained delay in execution of the death sentence causes suffering, mental agony and trauma. This is violative of Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) of the constitution as it is cruel and therefore inconsistent with constitutional values, they said.

(Source: PTI)

Amnesty welcomes SC death row decision

aaThe Supreme Court’s decision to commute the death sentences of 15 convicts was a positive step for human rights in India, Amnesty International said Wednesday.

Amnesty in a statement termed the apex court’s decision “historic” and also welcomed the setting down of guidelines to safeguard the rights of prisoners on death row and their families.

The apex court Tuesday commuted the death sentences of 15 prisoners on the ground of delay in the disposal of their mercy petitions by the president. It also commuted the death sentences of two people on the ground that they suffer from mental illness.

“While acknowledging the need to strike a balance between the rights of the accused as well as the victims, this momentous decision reaffirms the rights guaranteed to death row prisoners under the Constitution of India and international law and standards,” said G. Ananthapadmanabhan, chief executive of Amnesty International India.

“The verdict places a strong emphasis on the human rights of all people and should steer the country towards completely doing away with the death penalty.”

The Amnesty official said the imposition of death sentences in India “disproportionately affects those with little wealth or influence”.

Terming death penalty as a “cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment” and “the ultimate, irreversible denial of human rights”, he said the apex court’s decision provides an opportunity for India to rethink its use of the death penalty.
(Source: IANS)

Those who attack women should be brought to justice: UN

As four convicts in the Dec 16 gang-rape of a young woman were Friday sentenced to death, the UN said though it was against capital punishment, perpetrators of crimes against women should be brought to justice.

“While the UN does not support capital punishment, perpetrators of crimes against women must be brought to justice,” Rebecca Reichmann Tavares, representative, UN Women’s office for India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, said in a statement.

She said evidence from across the world suggested that higher conviction rates served as a deterrent to violence.

“We therefore call on the government of India to do everything in its power to ensure speedy justice for survivors of violence, especially those from marginalised communities,” she said.

The Dec 16, 2012 incident in Delhi was the tipping point that has brought attention to violence against women not only in India but globally.

Many progressive reforms and changes had resulted in the anti-rape law after the incident but laws by themselves were not the solution – their implementation also mattered as did changing mindsets, it said.

“Violence against women is preventable, not inevitable,” it said.

(Source: IANS)

Death for all four in Dec 16 gang rape

Four convicts in the December 16 gangrape-cum-murder case were on Friday awarded death penalty by a Delhi court which said the gravity of the offence cannot be tolerated.

“Death to all,” Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna said while delivering the verdict in the case that had evoked nationwide outrage and led the government to bring in a stringent anti-rape law.

“Besides discussing others offences, I straightaway come to section 302 (murder) of IPC. This falls under inhuman nature of the convicts and the gravity of offence they committed cannot be tolerated. Death sentence is given to all the four convicts,” he said.

The offence committed by Mukesh (26), Akshay Thakur (28), Pawan Gupta (19) and Vinay Sharma (20) falls under the rarest of rare category warranting capital punishment, the judge said.

The four were convicted by the court on September 10 for the gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedic student.

“Court cannot turn a blind eye to such a gruesome act,” the judge said, while handing down the maximum punishment.

He said, “When crime against women is rising on day-to-day basis, so, at this point in time court cannot keep its eye shut.”

“There should be exemplary punishment in view of the unparallelled brutality with which the victim was gangraped and murdered, as the case falls under the rarest of rare category. All be given death,” the court said while reading out a portion of the order.

“This is a time when serious crime against a woman has come to the fore and now its judiciary’s responsibility to instill confidence among the women,” it said.

Besides murder, the four have been also convicted for offences including gangrape, unnatural offences, attempt to murder, dacoity, destruction of evidence, conspiracy, kidnapping or abducting in order to murder, while acquitting them of the charge of murder in dacoity.

Immediately after pronouncement of sentence, the victim’s mother expressed satisfaction over the verdict.

“’Halak mein saans atki thi, jo ab bahar nikli hai. Mein dhanywaad karti hu desh ke logon ka aur media ka’ (We were waiting with bated breath, now we are relieved. I thank the people of my country and the media),” she said.

Besides her, the victim’s father and two brothers were also present in the jam-packed court room when the sentence was pronounced.

Hearing that he will face the gallows, Vinay started crying in court while the other three convicts — Mukesh, Pawan, Akshay — started shouting for pardon, with one of the defence lawyers A.P. Singh also joining them in seeking mercy.

Advocate V K Anand, who appeared for Mukesh, said he has regard for the verdict and he will file an appeal in the Delhi High Court.

Special public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan said, “I have done my job and we (prosecution) are happy with the verdict.”

Soon after the verdict was delivered, people waiting outside the courtroom started clapping.

(Source: IANS)