The High Court of Delhi on Tuesday reduced the sentence awarded to a murder convict, and issued a set of guidelines for his reformation and rehabilitation.
The Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra suggested several activities such as meditational therapy, educational opportunity, post release rehabilitation programme and adequate counselling, to ensure the Appellant’s reformation. It also directed the Superintendent of Tihar Jail, New Delhi to submit a bi-annual report to the Court till the date of the Appellant’s release, informing the Court of the measures being adopted for this purpose.
The Court was hearing an Appeal filed by one Mr. Ashok Bind, who had been convicted for murdering a 25 year old man, and was thereafter sentenced to life imprisonment. The convict had assaulted the victim with a gutter stone, after the former had insisted on occupying the bench that the latter was sleeping on. Mr. Kumar, who had come to Delhi along with his friend for Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSB) exams, was taken to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. Based on the evidence on record, medical reports and the testimony of victim’s friend, the Trial Court had handed down a life term to the Appellant. He had already undergone more than 4 years of incarceration at the time of the hearing, and had now submitted that his “jail conduct” was “satisfactory”.
During the hearing, the Court concluded that the occurrence had, in fact, taken place without any pre-meditation. It then observed that the case fell within the ambit of Exception 4 to Section 300 of the IPC, which pronounces as immaterial the fact of the party committing the first assault. It, thereafter, observed that the Trial Court was wrong in retracting the case from the purview of the exception on the ground that the victim was not the person who had gotten into a quarrel with the convict. The Court then modified his conviction under Section 302, IPC to one under Section 304 Part II of IPC.
The Bench then went on to note that the convict has a wife and three children, and observed, “In the circumstances it is considered essential that the sentence imposed upon the accused/the offender/the appellant herein Ashok Bind acts as a deterrent and is simultaneously reformative with a prospect of rehabilitation.”
It therefore reduced the sentence to 6 years, with the benefit of the set off of the period of detention already undergone by him. It also directed the concerned Superintendent at the Tihar Jail, New Delhi to consider an appropriate programme for the Appellant ensuring, it feasible:
“1. Appropriate correctional courses through meditational therapy;