SC commutes death for child killer
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Last Updated: Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 22:05
  
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday commuted the death sentence imposed on a man, who murdered his neighbour's two minor children in the capital's Subhashnagar area in 2003 over a financial matter, saying it did not fall in the "rarest of rare" category.

Rajesh Kumar had killed the two children as he was agitated over their father's reported refusal to give him some loan.

A bench of justices D K Jain and Asok Kumar Ganguly reduced the death sentence given to Kumar to life imprisonment while observing that the Delhi High Court had failed to appreciate that the murders though brutal did not fall under the "rarest of rare" category to warrant death penalty.

"In the instant case State has failed to show that the appellant is a continuing threat to society or that he is beyond reform and rehabilitation.

"It is clear from the aforesaid finding of the High Court that there is no evidence to show that the accused is incapable of being reformed or rehabilitated in society and the High Court has considered the same as a neutral circumstance.

"In our view the High Court was clearly in error. The very fact that the accused can be rehabilitated in society and is capable of being reformed, since the State has not given any evidence to the contrary, is certainly a mitigating circumstance and which the High Court has failed to take into consideration," the bench observed.

The apex court passed the judgement while partly allowing Kumar's appeal challenging the death sentence. Kumar had entered the house of his neighbour and relative Mukesh Sethi and killed the two children-Anshul(4) and Harshit (8 months) by smashing them on the ground on July 28, 2003.

The Sessions court awarded him death sentence and the high court affirmed the same following which the convict appealed in the apex court.

"The High Court, with respect, has taken a very narrow and a myopic view of the mitigating circumstances about the appellant.

"We are, therefore, constrained to observe that the High Court’s view of mitigating circumstance has been very truncated and narrow in so far as the appellant is concerned," the bench said.

The apex court said unfortunately the High Court fell into an error by approving the death sentence "as it was swayed by the cruel manner in which the two children were done to death by the appellant."

The defence had pleaded that the convict had two sons, a wife and a widowed mother to support, he was just 37 years when he committed the crime and the possibility of his rehabilitation in the society being not ruled out, nor was he a continuing threat to the society.

PTI


First Published: Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 22:05


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