The Supreme Court, in May, dismissed an appeal filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation challenging commutation of death penalty by the High Court in a murder case.
The death penalty awarded to Sakru Mahagu Binjewar and three others was commuted by the High Court, though it confirmed the conviction for murdering four persons. The mitigating factor, according to High Court was that (i) the incident did not take place on account of caste stature but the root cause was that the accused felt that they were falsely implicated in the crime of beating one Sidharth Gajbhiye by deceased Surekha and Priyanka; (ii) there is no evidence to suggest that the accused have a criminal record. The High Court then commuted the death sentence, but sentenced the accused to life imprisonment, on a condition that they shall not be released before completing 25 years of actual imprisonment. The CBI filed appeal against commutation of death penalty.
Referring to various precedents, the Apex Court bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra, Justice Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai and Justice Surya Kant said that the High Court rightly held that the instant case does not fall amongst the exceptional category of 'rarest of the rare' cases where the extreme penalty of death and death alone must be inflicted.
"On an in-depth consideration of the facts and the circumstances in which the ghastly crime of taking away the lives of four innocent persons took place, we find that the High Court was fully conscious of the binding principles illustratively laid down by this Court in the cited decisions and after carefully drawing the balance-sheet of 'aggravating' and 'mitigating' circumstances, the High Court rightly deemed it appropriate that the instant case does not fall amongst the exceptional category of 'rarest of the rare' cases where the extreme penalty of death and death alone must be inflicted."
The bench also dismissed the appeals filed by the accused whose conviction was affirmed by the High court.
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