A bench of justices BS Chauhan and Ibrahim Kalifulla, however, said that Neel Kumar shall serve a minimum 30 years sentence for the heinous offence.
"We are of the considered opinion that the case does not fall within the rarest of rare cases.
"However, considering the nature of offence, age and relationship of the victim with the appellant and gravity of injuries caused to her, appellant cannot be awarded a lenient punishment.
"Thus, in the facts and circumstances of the case, we set aside the death sentence and award life imprisonment. The appellant must serve a minimum of 30 years in jail without remissions, before consideration of his case for premature release," Justice Chauhan writing the judgement said.
The apex court passed the judgement while dismissing the appeal filed by the convicting challenging the death sentence imposed by the sessions court, Yamuna Nagar, Haryana and affirmed by the State High Court.
Neel Kumar had committed the offence in 2007 when his wife went to her parents home.
New Delhi: A man who raped his four-year-old daughter and later murdered her was on Tuesday let off from the gallows by the Supreme Court which held that it was not a rarest of rare crime to warrant death penalty.
First Published: Tuesday, May 08, 2012, 22:11