SC commutes death sentence in murder-rape case to life term
New Delhi: Even as there is a nationwide outrage and demand for death to rapists, the Supreme Court had commuted the capital punishment to life imprisonment for a young man who raped a pregnant woman and killed her great mother-in-law on the ground that the accused was drunk and not in a normal state of mind.
Three days before the brutal gang-rape and assault of a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in Delhi that had led to a countrywide outcry, the apex court was of the view that the mental condition of an accused be examined before putting the offence in the rarest of the rare category.
The court had commuted the death sentence to life term of a convict in Pune, who had raped the woman and killed her relative on the ground that he was drunk at the time of committing the offence.
A bench of Justices Swatanter Kumar (now retired) and Madan B Lokur had said the manner in which the crime was committed, the mental condition of accused must be examined before putting the offence in the rarest of rare category.
"It is not only the crime and its various facets which are the foundation for formation of special reasons as contemplated under Section 354(3) of the CrPC (pertaining to death sentence) for imposing death penalty but it is also the criminal, his background," the bench had said.
In the case, convict Sainath Kailash Abhang (then 23- year- old) had, on September 10, 2007, entered the woman's house in Pune and had killed her. He had then mercilessly chopped off the wrist of her left hand and four fingers of the right hand.
After committing the gruesome act, he repeatedly assaulted a pregnant relative of the deceased and raped her.
The court after going through all the evidences, including the statement of the injured lady, who said the convict was drunk, had granted him the relief.
Strongly reacting to the court's recent judgement, the victim's family today said the perpetrator of the crime had "no right to live".
Speaking on behalf of the family, Advocate DY Jadhav, who had fought the case as public prosecutor in Pune sessions court which had awarded death penalty to the accused that was later upheld by the High court, told a news agency,
"This was one of the rarest of the rare cases. My client was very keen on death penalty to the perpetrator of the heinous crime and is disappointed."