He May Be A Reformed Person Already: SC Commutes Death Sentence To Pune Driver Who Killed 9 By His Murderous 'Joy Ride'

He May Be A Reformed Person Already: SC Commutes Death Sentence To Pune Driver Who Killed 9 By His Murderous Joy Ride

"There is every possibility of his reform. In fact, he may be a reformed person already as we are informed that the appellant is regretting his aforesaid action taken in undue palpitation."

The Supreme Court, last week, commuted death penalty awarded to a bus driver whose murderous 'joy ride' had resulted in death of nine persons in the year 2012.

Santosh Maruti Mane was working as a driver in Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation. On 25th January 2012, he is said to have hijacked a bus from the depot and took on a 'joy ride' which resulted in death of nine persons and 36 persons suffered serious injury.

His plea of 'insanity' was rejected by the Trial Court and was sentenced to death. Confirming the Trial Court findings, the Bombay High Court had said that this was not a case of a driver of a public vehicle committing a road accident driving a bus while on public duty but a case where, after hijacking the bus, he killed innocent people and damaged public property undaunted by all attempts made to dissuade him from his killing spree of hapless victims.

The Apex Court, rejecting his challenge against conviction, held that the High Court has considered all the aspects and nuances of the matter and has come to the conclusion that the appellant could not prove that he was insane and, therefore, was rightly denied the benefit of Section 84 of the IPC.

The bench comprising of Justice AK Sikri, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice MR Shah observed that though the defence of insanity is not established in this case, the accused was under mental strain and stress which resulted in the tragedy.

Earlier, the bench had called for a report from the state about behavior shown by him since his arrest till date. Referring to the report, the bench said: "Nothing is indicated about his propensity of criminality on his part. We were also informed by the learned counsel for the respondent that his conduct in Jail has been satisfactory. There is every possibility of his reform. In fact, he may be a reformed person already as we are informed that the appellant is regretting his aforesaid action taken in undue palpitation."

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