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Courts never tried to make death penalty redundant for all practical purposes : SC

Supreme Court, The Supreme Court Of India, New Delhi

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5 Dariya News

New Delhi , 24 Jun 2022

The Supreme Court on Friday said it has never been an effort of the courts to make death penalty redundant and non-existent for all practical purposes.A bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari, and C.T. Ravikumar said the rarest of rare doctrine and its accompanying principles, as enunciated and explained in Bachan Singh and Machhi Singh cases, have been almost uniformly applied by courts in the country while dealing with the question of sentencing when the statute provides for death penalty.

"Over the time, even the proposition of larger/longer term of actual imprisonment with no remission or curtailed remission has also evolved but, it has never been the effort of the courts to somehow make this punishment (sentence of death) redundant and non-existent for all practical purposes," it said.

The bench added that the quest for justice in such cases, with death sentences being awarded and maintained only in extreme cases, does not mean that the matter would be approached and examined in the manner that death sentence has been avoided, even if the matter indeed calls for such a punishment.

"The judicial process, in our view, would be compromising on its objectivity if the approach is to nullify the statutory provision carrying death sentence as an alternative punishment for major offences (like that of Section 302 IPC), even after it has passed muster of judicial scrutiny and has been held not unconstitutional," said the bench, in its 129-page judgment.

It noted that pursuit in collecting mitigating circumstances could also not be taken up with any notion or idea that somehow, some factor be found; or if not found, be deduced anyhow so that the sentence of death be forsaken. 

"Such an approach would be unrealistic, unwarranted and rather not upholding the rule of law."The bench noted that the jail conduct of the convict carries its own bearing and relevance in the overall consideration, and this court has leaned in favour of commuting the sentence of death to that of imprisonment for life in case of unblemished jail conduct, even if the crime itself had been of gruesome or abhorrent nature.

It added however, in the present case, the further shocking and disturbing factor is that even while in jail, the appellant's conduct has not been free from blemish, as he had been accused and convicted of the offence murder of a co-inmate in the jail, while associating with three other inmates.

"The tremors thrown by the appellant to shock anyone's conscience with his beastly conduct have not stopped even with this inhumane crime and even after his conviction," said the bench.The observations came as the apex court confirmed the death sentence given to a man for the cold-blooded murder and brutal rape of a seven-and-a-half-year-old mentally and physically challenged girl. 

It upheld the Rajasthan High Court's May 29, 2015 order, which sentenced the convict to death.The bench said: "In the case of the present nature, the crime had been of extreme depravity, which shocks the conscience, particularly looking to the target (a seven-and-a-half-year old mentally and physically challenged girl) and then, looking to the manner of committing murder, where the hapless victim's head was literally smashed, resulting in multiple injuries including fracture of frontal bone.

"The high court had said the brutal rape and murder mentally and physically challenged girl falls under the category of rarest of rare case, as it confirmed death penalty to the accused.The top court said: "The sentences awarded to the appellant, including the death sentence for the offence under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, are also confirmed".

The accused had kidnapped, brutally raped, and murdered the girl on January 17, 2013.

 

Tags: Supreme Court , The Supreme Court Of India , New Delhi

 

 

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