New Delhi: Expressing shock over the manner in which the death penalty of a man, who raped and inflicted several injuries on a minor to kill her, was commuted to life sentence, the Supreme Court has castigated the Rajasthan High Court for adopting such a "casual approach".
A bench of justices B S Chauhan and Ibrahim Kalifulla, while setting aside the high court judgement, directed it to hear the appeal filed by convict Kunal Majumdar within three months for passing a fresh judgement.
The court took exception to the fact that the high court instead of dealing with the appeal in a serious manner as prescribed under Section 361 CrPC had reduced the death sentence to life term on the mere plea of the counsel for the convict for sympathetic consideration.
"We are shocked to note that the case of reference of death sentence for confirmation was dealt with by division bench of the high court of Rajasthan at Jodhpur in a casual and callous manner by merely stating that the counsel for the appellant pray for sympathetic consideration in commuting the death sentence into sentence for life," Justice Kalifulla said referring to the high court judgement.
The victim was working as a domestic maid at the house of the convict when on January 16, 2006, when the heinous crime occurred.
A fast track court on March 9, 2007 awarded death sentence to the convict after noticing that there were 27 injuries on the deceased who was 14 years old which was commuted to life term by the high court.
The apex court said for confirmation of death sentence under Section 366(1)CrPC, there is no question of the high court short circuiting the process of reference by merely relying upon any concession made by the counsel for the convict or that of counsel for the state.