SC upholds death penalty of dacoit

New Delhi: Holding that the convict was a menace to the society with no consideration for human lives, the Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of a dacoit who murdered five members of a family in Chhattisgarh.

"Five members of a family including two minor children and the driver were ruthlessly killed by the use of a knife, an axe and an iron rod and with the help of four others.

"The crime was obviously committed after pre-meditation with absolutely no consideration for human lives and for money. Even though the appellant was young, his criminal propensities are beyond reform and he is a menace to the society," the apex court said.

A bench of justices AK Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar passed the judgement dismissing the appeal of Sonu Sardar, a member of a dacoit gang which killed five members of the family in the state's Baikunthpur district on November 26, 2004.

The victims--Shamim, Asgar, Ruksana Bibi, Yakub and Kumari Rana--were done to death with knives, axe and iron rods after bolting the house door from inside to prevent their escape.

The session court had awarded death sentence to Sonu and the state high court had upheld the sentence on the ground that the murders were brutal, grotesque, diabolical, revolting and dastardly, which indicated the criminality of the perpetrators of the crime.

Dismissing the appeal, Justice Patnaik, writing the judgement, said, "The prosecution has, in our considered opinion, proved beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant participated in the offence of dacoity and murder and has been rightly convicted for the offence under Section 396 IPC."

The bench said the trial court and the high court were, therefore, right in coming to the conclusion that this is one of those rarest of rare cases in which death sentence is the appropriate punishment.

"In the result, we find no merit in these appeals and we sustain the conviction of the appellant as well as the sentence of death under Section 396 IPC, and dismiss the appeals," the apex court said.