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Bombay HC Commutes Death Penalty Awarded To Two Youths Accused Of Rape-Cum-Murder Of 4-Year-Old Kid [Read Judgment]

Extreme young age is recognized as mitigating circumstance. Hence we hold that this is not the rarest of rare case, the bench said.

The Bombay High Court has commuted death penalty awarded to duo convicted by the trial court for kidnapping, raping and murdering a 4-year-old girl.

Bhagwat and Rahul were convicted by the trial court for kidnapping a 4-year-old girl, raping and committing unnatural intercourse with her, and thereafter murdering by gagging her mouth. The trial court had sentenced them to death for committing murder. The accused, who lived in neighbourhood, were accused of inducing the girl, who had just returned from play school, by offering chocolates. The next day, the girl was found dead in the home of the father of one of the accused.

The bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice AM Dhavale upheld the findings of the trial court that the accused were responsible for the rape and murder of the kid.

The bench, after detailed reference to many apex court judgments, observed that the aggravating circumstances were that a 4-year-old girl was subjected to rape, sodomy and murder, and that she was a helpless, defenceless victim. Normally, in such case, death sentence is awarded, the bench observed.

It then listed the mitigating circumstances which made them not award the death sentence. They are:

  • Both the accused are between 18 and 19 years. Accused no. 1 is aged 18 years and 7 days only. Accused no. 2 is aged 19 years and 4 months.
  • Considering the age, there cannot be any criminal record against the accused. There is no material brought by prosecution showing criminal record of both the accused.
  • In the present case, thought the circumstances disclose that both the accused in furtherance of their common intention subjected a four-year-old girl to rape, sodomy and murder, there is no direct material showing the parts played by accused no. 1 and accused no. 2 individually. It is not known who gagged her mouth by stuffing raw cotton.

The bench also said extreme young age is recognized as mitigating circumstance. “Hence, we hold that this is not the rarest of rare case. Though the accused can be held guilty u/s 302 on account of doing an act imminently dangerous, it is not clear whether they intended to cause death of Siddhi or not,” the bench added.

Considering the gravity and seriousness of the offences, the court sentenced the accused to imprisonment for life which should not be less than 30 years without remission.

Read the Judgment Here

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