The Supreme Court, last week, commuted the death sentence awarded to a man convicted for rape and murder of 7 1/2 year old girl.
Three Judge Bench comprising of Justice AK Sikri, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice MR Shah, upheld the conviction, but observed that, though the crime can be said to be brutal, but does not warrant death sentence.
The Trial Court had convicted the accused, Vijay Raikwar, under Section 376 (2) (f) and Section 201 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as Sections 5(i), 5(m) and 5(r) read with Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act).
Later, the High Court of Madhya Pradesh confirmed the conviction and death sentence awarded by the Trial Court.
The Apex Court, on his appeal, upheld the conviction. The court noted the following mitigating circumstances, to hold that the case does not satisfy rarest of rare test. Justice MR Shah, said:
"It is required to be noted that the accused was not a previous convict or a professional killer. At the time of commission of offence, he was 19 years of age. His jail conduct also reported to be good. Considering the aforesaid mitigating circumstances and considering the aforesaid decisions of this Court, we think that it will be in the interest of justice to commute the death sentence to life imprisonment. "
The bench then modified the sentence to life imprisonment.