SC Commutes Death Penalty In Two Rape-Cum-Murder Cases [Read Judgment]

SC Commutes Death Penalty In Two Rape-Cum-Murder Cases [Read Judgment]

The Supreme Court bench headed by Justice AK Sikri has commuted death sentence imposed on accused in two different cases, by recalling its earlier orders by which it had dismissed the SLPs filed by them in limine.

Babasaheb Maruti Kamble was convicted for rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl in Maharashtra, while Jitendra was convicted in a rape-cum-murder case by the Madhya Pradesh High Court.  In both these cases, the court had earlier dismissed SLPs in limine filed by respective accused who were awarded death sentence.

On 1st November, the three-judge bench, also comprising of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Indira Banerjee, held that in death sentence cases, a deeper scrutiny coupled with reasons in support of death penalty should be given. It categorically held that Special Leave Petitions filed in those cases where the death sentence is awarded by the courts below should not be dismissed without giving reasons, at least qua death sentence.

It then proceeded to hear the SLPs, by recalling earlier orders, that day itself and confirmed conviction in both the cases and commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment.

In both the cases, the bench observed: “We are also of the opinion that life sentence should be with a cap of 20 years’ rigorous imprisonment (RI) which would mean that the appellant shall not be entitled to make any representation for remission till he completes 20 years of RI.”

In Kamble’s case, the bench took note of his age and no history of any other criminal activity, and hence, the possibility of reform. In the other case, the bench said that the State could not point out blameworthy conduct depicted by him in jail.

Read the Judgment Here