Granting permission to amend grounds of review petition, the Supreme Court has stayed the execution of the death sentence ‘pending further orders’ awarded to Mofil Khan and Mobarak Khan for murdering Haneef Khan and family consisting of his wife and four sons.
His review petition is now being heard by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur. The bench granted permission to the counsel to file amended grounds for review within four weeks. “The execution of the death sentence awarded to the petitioners shall remain stayed pending further orders from this court,” the order dated 24.10.2016 said.
Mofil Khan and his nephew Mobarak Khan and two others were found guilty by the trial court of murdering Haneef Khan and his family consisting of his wife and four sons, including three minors and one physically disabled boy. Death penalty awarded to Mofil Khan and his nephew by the court was confirmed by the Jharkhand High Court. The Supreme Court had heard the appeal of Mofil Khan restricting itself to the question of sentence only.
The apex court judgment in this case discusses various case laws which dealt with ‘rarest of rare’ doctrine. A bench comprising then Chief Justice of India HL Dattu, Justice RK Agrawal and Justice Arun Mishra had observed that the judiciary has a paramount duty to safeguard the rights of the victims as diligently as those of the perpetrators.
“In the context of these turbulent social times, we cannot remain oblivious to the substantial suffering of the victims. It stands as a fact that criminal justice reform and civil rights movement in India has historically only paid considerable attention to the rights of the accused and neglected to address to the same extent the impact of crime on the victims. It is not only the victims of crime only that require soothing balm, but also the incidental victims like the family, the co-sufferers and to a relatively large extent the society too,” the court had observed.
Confirming his death penalty, the apex court had observed thus: “Keeping in view the said principle of proportionality of sentence or what it termed as "just desert" for the vile act of slaughtering eight lives, including four innocent minors and a physically infirm child whereby an entire family is exterminated, we cannot resist from concluding that the depravity of the appellant’s offence would attract no lesser sentence than the death penalty.”
Later on March 6, President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected their mercy petitions.
Read the order here.
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