New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday commuted the death sentence awarded to a 24-year-old youth for raping and murdering his minor neighbour but directed that he be kept behind the bars for 25 years in order to "guard the society from him".
A bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Mukta Gupta commuted to life imprisonment the capital punishment given to convict Bharat Kumar in 2013, saying though he is a sexually dangerous person, he is "not a dangerous sexual predator" and the solution to the present case is not to remove him from the world.
"The sexual offenders can be classified as criminal sexual psychopaths who are least dangerous, sexually dangerous persons and dangerous and violent sexual predators and offenders who lack empathy and remorse.
"The first category does not inflict any physical pain on the victim, the second category while perpetrating the crime cause grotesque suffering in the victim and the last category causes not only grotesque suffering in the victim but even defiles the victim after the crime.
"Bharat Kumar falls in the second category who not only perpetrated crime but caused grotesque suffering on the victim by raping a minor girl of tender age of 6 years and thereafter committing her murder by smashing her head with a stone.
"Thus, Bharat Kumar is a sexually dangerous person and not a dangerous sexual predator and offender. Hence, the solution to the present case is not by removing Bharat Kumar from the earth but guarding the society against him so that he does not act dangerously to other innocent lives," the court said.
The court also said "no remission would be granted to him before completion of 25 years of actual imprisonment" and also imposed a fine of Rs one lakh on him.
The fine, if recovered, will be paid to the parents of the victim as compensation, it said. PTI
The incident had taken place in 2010 when Kumar lured the girl, who was then between six and eight years, by offering her snacks and chocolate. Being her neighbour, she did not suspect his intentions and accompanied him.
Kumar took her to a secluded field in Palam Village here, raped her and then killed her by causing severe injuries on her head and face. He left the body in the field and fled,
Police had told the court.
The trial court had directed that Kumar be hanged till death as the case falls in the category of rarest of rare and refused to award him lesser punishment.
It had said rape and murder cases in the country were on the rise and if he is spared the gallows, it would encourage other rapists to kill the victims to escape being caught.
The court held Kumar guilty of kidnapping, rape and murder.
The trial court had said it is high time that courts should deal sternly in such brutal cases so that a strong message was sent to the society.
While balancing mitigating and aggravating circumstances in the case, the court said no doubt Kumar was 20-year-old when he had committed the offence and was a first time offender but this crime is not only brutal, diabolic and gruesome but also immensely abhorrent, ghastly and indignant.
The judge rejected Kumar's plea that there was no eye witness and said the scientific evidence in the nature of DNA report is a clinching piece of evidence and does not leave any iota of doubt regarding his complicity in the crime.
"We find no merit in this contention of counsel for the appellant (Kumar)," it said.
He also rejected Kumar's submission that he was heavily drunk at the time of the crime and was not in his senses and had attempted to commit suicide as he was remorseful.