The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday confirmed the death sentence awarded to a Haryana woman and her boyfriend for poisoning and strangulating seven members of her family, including four children, in September 2009.
The Bench comprising Justice A.B. Chaudhari and Justice Kuldip Singh observed, “In this case, the collective conscience of community is shocked and in opinion of this Court, death penalty in present case is desirable and is only punishment, which could be awarded. The murders show deplorability. The murders were committed in cold blood.”
The Court was hearing a reference made by the Sessions Judge for confirmation of death sentence awarded to one Sonam and her boyfriend, Naveen Kumar, for the murder of her parents, 16-year-old brother, grandmother and three cousins, all of whom were below 11 years of age.
The police investigation had revealed that the duo believed that Sonam’s family was a “hurdle in their love affair”. Having conspired to eliminate them, they then strangulated the victims after administering them sleeping pills at their house in Qabulpur village of Rohtak.
While examining the evidence placed before it, the Court noted that the call details produced before it cannot be relied on to establish that Sonam and Naveen had spoken to each other several times on the night of the crime. This was because the investigating agency had failed to produce the certificate as prescribed under Section 65B(4) of the Indian Evidence Act.
The authorities were therefore directed to be sensitized, with the direction, “To sensitize police authorities, let relevant extract from copy of judgment be sent to Director Generals of Police, Punjab, Haryana and U.T. Chandigarh, with a direction that in future when an electronic record is produced, the Investigators be trained how to fulfil the conditions contained in Section 65-B of Indian Evidence Act, 1872.”
Nevertheless, the Court went on to uphold the death sentence awarded to the duo, in view of the brutality of the act committed by them. It made reference to the parameters laid down by the Apex Court in State of U.P. Versus Sattan alias Satyendra and others, which involved the murder of six members of a family.
More particularly, it relied on the observations made by the Supreme Court, wherein it had opined that death penalty may be awarded inter alia when “the crime is enormous in proportion. For instance when multiple murders, say of all or almost all the members of a family or a large number of persons of a particular caste, community, or locality are committed.”
Applying the principle to the facts of the case, the Court noted that the act committed by them was deplorable and upheld the sentence awarded to the duo. In doing so, it observed, “Accused Sonam alias Sonu was given birth and brought up by her parents. A woman by its very nature is merciful. From childhood, all necessary facilities were extended to her by her parents. She enjoyed faith and trust of her family members. But, accused Sonam alias Sonu did not take any mercy on her parents, younger brother of tender age and her cousins of tender age, who had not seen much of the world.
Bhuri, grandmother of accused Sonam alias Sonu, was sleeping in other house. After committing 6 murders, both accused went to house of Bhupender, where Bhuri was sleeping, which was across the street and murdered her in a brutal manner. After committing murder of Bhuri, both of them committed sexual intercourse on the bed where dead body of Bhuri was lying. The grisly act and the manner of commission of crime shows that both accused are monsters”
Read the Judgment Here