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SC Confirms Death Penalty Awarded To Man Accused Of Killing Six Persons [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
5 March 2019 1:07 PM GMT
SC Confirms Death Penalty Awarded To Man Accused Of Killing Six Persons [Read Judgment]
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Ironically, this judgment has been delivered on the same day when the same bench, in another case, acquitted six 'death convicts' who were sentenced to death by the Apex Court in 2009.

The Supreme Court, after a long gap and a series of commutations, has confirmed a death sentence in a judgment delivered on Tuesday. Ironically, this judgment has been delivered on the same day when the same bench, in another case, acquitted six 'death convicts' who were sentenced to death by the Apex Court in 2009. The bench comprising Justice AK Sikri, Justice Abdul Nazeer...

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The Supreme Court, after a long gap and a series of commutations, has confirmed a death sentence in a judgment delivered on Tuesday. Ironically, this judgment has been delivered on the same day when the same bench, in another case, acquitted six 'death convicts' who were sentenced to death by the Apex Court in 2009.

The bench comprising Justice AK Sikri, Justice Abdul Nazeer and Justice MR Shah upheld the death penalty imposed on Khushwinder Singh, convicted of murdering six persons belonging to a family, out of which two were minors – below 10 years of age.

The Sessions court had convicted Singh under Sections 364, 302, 307, 201 and 380 of the Indian Penal Code. The death sentence awarded was later confirmed by the High Court, which dismissed the appeal filed by the accused.

The Judgment authored by Justice MR Shah does not contain much discussion about application of 'rarest of rare' test. Only two out of 27 pages, is dedicated to examine the issue of appropriateness of death sentence awarded.

In the first paragraph which deals with the issue of sentencing, the court took note of the following factual aspects. It says that counsel of the accused could not point out any mitigating circumstance which warrants commutation of death sentence to the life imprisonment.

"The accused has killed six innocent persons in a pre-planned manner. The convict meticulously planned the time. He first kidnapped three persons by way of deception and took them to the canal and after drugging them with sleeping tablets, pushed them in the canal at a mid-night to ensure that the crime is not detected. That, thereafter he killed another three persons in the second stage/installment."

Then the bench refers to the judgment in Mukesh v. State (NCT of Delhi) and observes that the instant case would fall in the category of the "rarest of rare case" warranting death sentence/capital punishment. Affirming the death sentence, the court said:

"The aggravating circumstances are in favour of the prosecution and against the accused. Therefore, striking a balance between the aggravating and mitigating circumstances, we are of the opinion that the aggravating circumstance would tilt the balance in favour of the capital punishment. In the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the opinion that there is no alternative punishment suitable, except the death sentence. The crime is committed with extremist brutality and the collective conscious of the society would be shocked."

Read Judgment


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