Calcutta High Court on Friday commuted the death sentence awarded by Additional Sessions Judge Arambagh to Lakhikanta Adhikary who killed his 26 year old wife and 7 year old son. The High Court awarded life imprisonment with minimum 30 years without remission.
The case of the prosecution is that accused Lakhikanta Adhikary was married to Sulekha Adhikary nine years ago. The victim lady was subjected to both physical and mental torture, so also beatings in her matrimonial home by husband and his family members soon after the marriage. A few days before the date of incident the accused appellant and his family members threatened to cut the victim lady with chopper.
The defacto complainant on 6th August, 2012 was informed that his daughter the victim girl and his grandson had been killed by slicing the throat with sharp weapon. Police charge sheeted the Accused under Section 498A and 302 IPC.
After the trial, accused was found guilty of both the offencs and awarded Death sentence by Additional Sessions Judge Arambagh.
A reference was made to the High Court by the Trial Court under Section 366 Cr.P.C. The Accused also filed appeal before the High Court
The Division Bench comprising Justices Nadira Patherya and Debi Prosad Dey found that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
Question of sentence;
The Division Bench was of the opinion that though the aggravating circumstance outweighs the mitigating circumstance and the death of both victims was not only pre-planned, brutal and cold blooded but the appellant was aware that if he was in his senses he would not be able to kill the victims and it is for this reason that he consumed country liquor before entering his house on the fated night before leaving for Calcutta and after committing such offence the accused appellant remained unfazed, and pursued his normal activities, but to impose death sentence the case must be the "rarest of rare case" and the nature of the crime, circumstances of the criminal and impact of the crime on the community should be considered.
“Another reason is while applying the test of "Rarest of Rare Case" it is the perception of society which must be considered and not the opinion of a judge and society would abhor rape and murder of a disabled woman, a mentally and physically handicapped woman or minor child and although the appellant's action calls for no sympathy life imprisonment for minimum 30 years without remission would suffice”, said the Bench.
Read the Judgment here.
This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.