Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
Homechevron_rightIndiachevron_rightSC notice on commuting ...

SC notice on commuting death sentence

SC notice on commuting death sentence

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the Centre on a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging former president Pratibha Patil's decision commuting the death sentence of five people to life imprisonment.

The people whose death sentences were commuted were convicted in brutal cases of child rape - in one case, the child was beheaded.

Pinki Virani, the petitioner, who is also a well known author, sought the quashing of the order passed by the then president, commuting the death sentence of Molai Ram and Santosh Kumar Yadav, Sushil Murmu, Satish and Bantu, to life in prison.

The petitioner has urged the court to set a date, and execute the five.

Senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for petitioner Pinki Virani, told an apex court bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam: "The Supreme Court has itself laid down parameters under which death penalties are awarded. These are crimes of extreme brutality. How can Article 72 (power of president to grant pardons) be exercised to commute death penalty to life imprisonment?"

Article 72 of the constitution empowers the president to commute a death sentence to life imprisonment.

The PIL has urged the court to lay down guidelines under which the president could commute the death sentence to life imprisonment; the decision should be taken only after objective analysis, and only if serious aberration is found in the application of the "rarest of rare" case principle, or if the award of death sentence was done with no unanimity among the judges, the petitioner has said.

Virani has written extensively on child abuse in India. The petitioner said the apex court had laid down seven parameters under which the death sentence can be awarded, treating the matter as a "rarest of rare" case.

One of the seven parameters under which murder is considered a rarest of rare case includes murder of minors (described under the Juvenile Justice Act), pregnant women, and people with mental and physical disability.

"The five convicts are guilty of gruesome and socially abhorrent crimes and, therefore, do not deserve presidential pardon. The death sentence awarded by this court to the convicts is required to be re-instituted by this court by exercising its power of judicial review, of the decision taken by the president under Article 72 of the Constitution of India," the PIL said.

Pinki Virani, in her petition, said: "The petitioner has studied the history of these four cases and the same warrants the conclusion that the dehumanised convicts have not even a vestige of humanity left in them and, therefore, deserve complete extinction. The presence of these convicts, even inside the jail, is a menace to other prisoners within, and morally and otherwise hazardous to jail employees. Most alarmingly, if they are out on short-term parole, they are an immediate threat to society and imminent danger to children."

In one of these cases, Molai, who was a guard in the Central Jail, along with a prisoner Santosh, went to the house of the assistant jailor, and on finding his 16-year-old daughter alone, gang-raped her and killed her, later dumping her body into the jail's septic tank.

In another case, Satish raped a six-year-old girl who was on her way to school. The next morning, the body of the victim was found with blood on her private parts, and strangulation marks on her neck.

In a third case, convict Bantu took a five-year-old girl from a religious ceremony to a field, where he raped her and also inserted stems of plants and sticks into her vagina. The child died of profuse bleeding.

In the fourth case, convict Sushil Murmu chopped off the head of nine-year-old Chirku Besra as a religious sacrifice.

Medical confirmation could not be conducted for sexual violation of the child as the accused dumped the severed head in a gunny bag and threw it in a pond.

Show Full Article
Next Story