New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday commuted the death sentence of a 26-year-old youth to life term for killing a woman and her son saying that the convict is an educated person so there are chances of his reform.
A bench of Justices H L Dattu and S J Mukhopadhaya commuted the death awarded to Santosh Kumar Singh on the ground that the case does not fall within the realms of "rarest of the rare category".
"It is true that the accused has committed a heinous crime, but it cannot be held with certainty that this case falls in the rarest of the rare category.
"On appreciation of evidence on record and keeping in mind the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the view that sentence of death penalty would be extensive and unduly harsh," the bench said.
"Accordingly, we commute the death sentence of appellant to life imprisonment. The conviction and rest part of the sentence are affirmed," the bench said.
The bench noted that the accused was a tutor in the family and was known to every member of the household and there is nothing specific to suggest the motive for committing the crime except the articles and cash taken away by him.
Further, it said, "It is not the case of the prosecution that the appellant cannot be reformed or that the accused is a social menace. Apart from the incident in question there is no criminal antecedent of the appellant.
According to police, Santosh was known to the family of one Gulam Mohd as he used to come to their house to teach the children.
On May 7, 2010, he came to their house in Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh and returned after sometime and attacked Gulam`s wife and their children with an iron hammer.
Thereafter, he looted cash and jewellery from their house. The woman died on the spot while their son succumbed to injuries later.
The trial court had awarded death sentence to Santosh and the sentence was also upheld by the Madhya Pradesh High Court.