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Was He Insane? SC Calls For Report From State To Know How Death Convict Behaved In Jail Since His Arrest In 2012 Till Date [Read Order]

“Before we proceed further, we would like to find out as to how the petitioner has behaved after his arrest, in jail, during the intervening period i.e. from 2012 till date.”

The Supreme Court has called for a report from the state about behavior shown by a death convict since his arrest till date.

Santosh Maruti Mane was sentenced to death by the Trial Court for killing nine persons.  As the High Court confirmed the death penalty, the accused approached the Apex court.

During the hearing on Thursday, the main defense taken on behalf of the accused was that he was a person of unsound mind and, therefore, should have given benefit of Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code. It was contended that there is sufficient material on record in the form of medical evidence which shows that he was having hallucination and also there was mental disorder to some extent, in such a case he should not have been given death penalty.

Taking this submission into account, the bench comprising Justice AK Sikri, said: “Before we proceed further, we would like to find out as to how the petitioner has behaved after his arrest, in jail, during the intervening period i.e. from 2012 till date. Learned counsel for the respondent may obtain a Report in this behalf as well as medical record of the petitioner in jail, if he was given any treatment etc.”

Further hearing will take place on 12th December 2018.

Background

Santosh Maruti Mane was working as a driver in Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation. It is prosecution case that, on 25th January 2012, he 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.

While confirming the death sentence, the High Court bench observed: “It cannot be accepted that an insane act cannot be committed by a sane mind. It cannot be condoned on the fond hope that such a person may in the distant future will be reformed and claim right to live in a civilized society. Such a dastardly and inhuman act cannot be condoned on the premise that when society inflicts insults and injuries on a person, it gives right to individuals to take revenge against the society and its innocent members either on account of assumed religious sanction or individual retribution of wrongs done to him. If such acts are condoned by commutation of death penalty, it definitely would send wrong signals to the society that individuals can take law into their own hands and get away with it on some misplaced and misconceived notions of sympathy, particularly when constitutionally held valid capital punishment is approved by the legislature and the Apex Court has given its seal of approval to it. We, therefore, have to do this unpleasant task of upholding the death penalty though we concur with some of the views expressed by the people who advocate abolition of death penalty from the statute book. Yet, as long as death penalty remains on the statute book, we have to carry out this task of deliberating whether death penalty was justified in this case and we feel it was.”

Read the Order Here

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