‘It is true that in the present case, there were aggravating circumstances, but the early age of the appellant is also required to be noticed.’
The Patna High Court has converted sentence of death penalty imposed on a man accused of rape and murder of a 3-year-old to life imprisonment taking into account of his ‘early’ age and lack of criminal antecedents.
The trial court had sentenced Rohan Bind to death after holding him guilty of brutal rape and murder of the girl. The prosecution case was that on the pretext of providing biscuit, the accused lured the girl to go with him and thereafter, she was carried outside the village and in field, she was raped and in inhuman manner, she was killed. Her body was found in nude condition seen thrown in a ditch.
The bench comprising Justice Rakesh Kumar and Justice Arvind Srivastava upheld the conviction holding that that the prosecution established its case beyond all reasonable doubt that just before the recovery of the dead body of the victim, the accused was lastly seen with the deceased, which has been corroborated by number of witnesses.
With regard to sentence, the bench said: “Learned Trial Judge of course has elaborately dealt with the mitigating and aggravating circumstances and has come to the conclusion that it was a case for capital punishment, but fact remains that such sentence is to be imposed in rarest of the rare cases and in each case, its fact is essential ingredient for deciding such sentence. It is true that in the present case, there were aggravating circumstances, but the early age of the appellant is also required to be noticed. Besides his early age, it has also been noticed that the appellant was the first offender and nothing has been brought on record that appellant was accused in any case earlier.”
Refraining from confirming the death sentence, the bench said: “In such circumstances, we are of the opinion that if the ‘capital punishment’ is altered to the imprisonment of the appellant for life, this will meet the requirement. In such circumstances, in view of early age of the appellant and considering the fact that on record, there is nothing that the appellant was having criminal antecedent, it would be necessary that while approving the judgment of conviction and other sentences, the ‘death sentence’ may be converted to ‘imprisonment for life’.”
The bench then approved the judgment of conviction and converted the death sentence to imprisonment for life ‘till his last breath’.