The Jharkhand High Court, last week, commuted death penalty awarded to accused in two different rape and murder cases.
One was in the case of Mathura Yadav who was convicted for rape and murder of a girl aged about seven year old. Another was Kashi Nath Singh convicted for rape and murder of a fourteen year old girl.
The bench comprising Justice HC Mishra and Justice Ratnaker Bhengra delivered the judgment in both the cases on 25th March 2019, affirming the conviction orders of the Trial Court.
The probability of reformation, rehabilitation and social re-integration of the appellant into the society, of the present appellant, also cannot be ruled out, in absence of any criminal antecedent of the accused, the bench said while commuting the death sentence in both the cases. In Kashi Nath's case, the court also took note of his young age.
The court, however, directed that the life sentence awarded to these accused shall be for the whole of his biological life, without any benefit of remission.
The bench, in both the cases, took note of a recent judgment of the Supreme Court commuting death sentence awarded to Rajendra Pralhadrao Wasnik, who was convicted for rape and murder of a three-year-old. The bench, referring to said judgment, observed:
"Even in the backdrop of the fact that the accused was found to be accused in three similar nature of cases, and the case related to the gruesome rape and murder of a girl child aged about three years, the Hon'ble Apex Court, laying down the law that in absence of any consideration about the probability of reformation, rehabilitation and social re-integration of the appellant into the society, the death sentence awarded upon the appellant, could not be maintained, commuted the death sentence of the accused, which was earlier affirmed up to the Supreme Court, to the life imprisonment with direction that the accused should not be released from the custody for the rest of his normal life."