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" Innocent Toddler Also Had A Future": Mother Of 4-Year-Old Girl Moves Supreme Court Seeking Review Of Order Commuting Death Sentence On Man Convicted For Her Daughter's Rape & Murder

Srishti Ojha
4 May 2022 4:49 PM GMT
 Innocent Toddler Also Had A Future: Mother Of 4-Year-Old Girl Moves Supreme Court Seeking Review Of Order Commuting Death Sentence On Man Convicted For Her Daughters Rape & Murder
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The mother of a 4year old girl child has approached the Supreme Court seeking review of its recent Judgment commuting the death sentence awarded to Mohd Firoz, convicted for the rape and murder of her four-year-old daughter.A review petition has been filed by the original complainant through Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava challenging the order dated 19th April 2022 passed by...

The mother of a 4year old girl child has approached the Supreme Court seeking review of its recent Judgment commuting the death sentence awarded to Mohd Firoz, convicted for the rape and murder of her four-year-old daughter.

A review petition has been filed by the original complainant through Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava challenging the order dated 19th April 2022 passed by the Apex Court.

The order being challenged was passed by a bench comprising Justice UU Lalit, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Bela M. Trivedi. The bench had observed that the maximum punishment prescribed may not always be the determinative factor for repairing the crippled psyche of the offender.

The review petitioner has sought directions to allow the Review Petition and restore the Death Penalty originally imposed upon the accused and award sentence of imprisonment for the remainder of his natural life, instead of 20-years imprisonment.

The petitioner has argued that while commuting the Death Sentence, the Top Court only considered the Accused's rights and has completely ignored the Victim's rights

According to the petitioner, the Court committed a manifest error by applying the ratio of Shatrughna Baban Meshram Vs. State of Maharashtra as unlike that case, in the present case the accused consciously strangulated the victim with clear intention to extinguish the life of girl.

The petitioner has argued that the Court incorrectly observed that in a series of judgments, Supreme Court has not treated the cases similar to the present case, as "rarest of the rare" case.

The petitioner has cited several cases from the last few years where the Supreme Court has treated cases u/s 376/302 IPC where the ages of the victims were 16 years of below i.e., the cases similar to the present case, as "Rarest of the Rare" and has confirmed Death Penalty.

The petitioner has submitted that it is a cardinal principle of law that while examining the legality of Death Sentence in a case, the courts are required to consider the aggravating as well as the mitigating circumstances. However, the impugned judgment has committed a manifest error in solely relying upon the affidavits of the family members of the Accused, the Jail Documents and the social inquiry report of the Accused and completely ignoring the aggravating circumstances.

It has further been argued that the impugned judgment seems to have overlooked the cruel, diabolic, brutal, depraved and gruesome nature of the crime committed by the Accused.

The petition has stated that the top court's judgment seems to have overlooked that the Sentencing Policy also needs to consider the deterrent effect and that the punishments before all things, must be befitting the nature of crime and deterrent with an explicit aim to make an example out of the evil-doer and a warning to those who are still innocent.

In the present case, the Trial Court had awarded death sentence to the accused Firoz for the offence under section 302 of IPC and directed to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of 07 years and pay fine of Rs. 2000/- for the offence under section 363, to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of 10 years and pay fine of Rs. 2000/- for the offence under section 366 of IPC, to undergo life imprisonment and pay fine of Rs. 2000/- for the offences under sections 376(2)(i), 376(2)(m) of IPC and under sections 5(i)r/w 6 & 5(m) r/w 6 of POCSO Act.

The High Court dismissed his appeal and confirmed the death sentence.

In appeal, re-appreciating the evidence on record, the Apex Court bench held that the prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt all the circumstances individually and also proved the circumstances forming a chain, so conclusive as to rule out the possibility of any other hypothesis except the guilt of the accused.

The bench had observed that one of the basic principles of restorative justice as developed by this Court over the years, also is to give an opportunity to the offender to repair the damage caused, and to become a socially useful individual, when he is released from the jail.

According to the bench, the maximum punishment prescribed may not always be the determinative factor for repairing the crippled psyche of the offender. Hence, while balancing the scales of retributive justice and restorative justice, the bench had found it appropriate to impose upon the accused, the sentence of imprisonment for a period of twenty years instead of imprisonment for the remainder of his natural life for the offence under section 376A, IPC.

The conviction and sentence recorded by the courts below for the other offences under IPC and POCSO Act were affirmed and it was directed that all the punishments imposed shall run concurrently.

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