The Supreme Court reduced the death penalty of a convict in the case of rape and murder of a minor girl, into life imprisonment. The Bench of Justices L Nageshwar Rao, BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna noticed that while the trial court and the High Court considered the gravity of the crime, they neglected to consider the relieving conditions including the convict’s financial condition and probability of reformation and restoration. But the Court, considering ‘the brutal way wherein the offenses of rape and murder were submitted’, directed the convict to remain in jail for 30 years without remission. The Bench also saw that the appellant was denied a bifurcated hearing for conviction and sentence and thereby, he was rejected the powerful chance to introduce relevant material on the question of death penalty.
The heinous incident occurred in the midnight of April 14-15, 2017when the victim went missing while she was returning from a house function with her parents and two brothers. Her body was recovered the other day with severe injuries on her private parts and body. There were two persons who committed the ghastly crime but as the appeal was pending, one accused died leaving the appellant to pursue the appeal. The convict was charged for offenses under Sections 363 (kidnapping), 366A (procuration of minor young lady), 364 (kidnapping in request to kill), 346 (wrongful confinement), 302 (murder), 201 (evidence tampering) of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 5(g) (m) read with Section 6 (aggravated penetrative sexual assault) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POSCO Act). He was convicted and sentenced to death by the trial court and the same was upheld by the Madhya Pradesh High Court prompting the current appeal before the top court.
Here, SC underlined the important of Section 235(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) which requires the accused to be offered a chance to make representation against the sentence to be forced on him. “A bifurcated hearing for indicting and condemning is important to give a feasible entryway to the blamed. Satisfactory opportunity to convey pertinent material on the subject of capital punishment will be given to the charged by the trial court,” said Justice Rao, writing the judgment for the bench.