The Gujarat High Court has confirmed the death sentence awarded to a man accused of rape and murder of a three and a half year girl.
Anil Surendrasingh Yadav was convicted by the Special Court under Sections 302, 363, 366, 376AB, 377 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code and under Sections 3(a), 4, 5(a), 5(r) and 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
Upholding the conviction, the High Court bench of Justice Bela M. Trivedi and Justice AC Rao said that the acts of the accused in kidnapping a young girl of 3½ years, committing rape on her in her absolutely helpless and unprotected condition, and then murdering her in a brutal manner by strangulating her and then putting her in a gunny bag, fleeing away to his native place at Bihar, leaving the dead body in the locked house to decay and decompose, with no repentance or remorse after the commission of crime over weigh the mitigating circumstances like no criminal antecedents of the accused or no evidence to suggest that he cannot be reformed.
While discussing the doctrine of 'Rarest of Rare', the bench referred to recent judgment of the Supreme Court which had upheld death penalty. (Ravi v. State of Maharashtra). It said:
The abhorrent and atrocious nature of crime committed by the appellant/accused in diabolical manner, on the defenseless unprotected girl of 3½ years, without any remorse, has left the Court with no option but to consider the case as the "rarest of rare case" for awarding the punishment of death penalty. Such crimes do not only reflect the abusive facet of human conduct but also shock the collective conscience of the society.
The court also took note of the amendment made to the POCSO Act and said thus:
The latest legislative wisdom shown by the legislature by amending Section 6 of the POCSO Act and by incorporating the punishment of death penalty for the offence of "aggravated penetrative sexual assault" on the child below 12 years reinforces the desirability of the capital punishment for the heinous crimes. Of course, the said amendment has been carried out recently and could not be made applicable to the present case, as the offence was committed prior to the amendment. Nonetheless, considering the rising crime rate particularly of the heinous nature of crimes against the young girls, and in response to the society's cry for justice against the criminals and to have deterrence in the society, the culpability of the appellant/accused deserves to be awarded extreme penalty. The Court, therefore, is of the opinion that the death penalty awarded to the accused by the Special Court deserves to be confirmed.
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