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Homechevron_rightIndiachevron_rightSC affirms minor's...

SC affirms minor's rape-murder convict's death sentence

SC affirms minors rape-murder convicts death sentence

New Delhi: The Supreme Court affirmed on Friday the lower courts' verdicts, sentencing a man to death for kidnapping, raping and killing a mentally and physically challenged seven-and-half-year-old. The court observed that the nature of the crime was of "extreme depravity which shocks the conscience", leaving it no other option but to confirm the death sentence, PTI reported.

In Rajasthan's Rajsamand district, the convict, then 28-year-old Manoj Pratap Singh, had kidnapped the minor who was with her parents, who were fruits and vegetable sellers, on January 17, 2013. He brutally raper her at an isolated place and killed her, smashing her head.

The apex court now delivered the verdict, through a 129-page judgement, on appeals challenging the Rajasthan High Court's May 29, 2015 verdict, which affirmed the death sentence awarded by the Court of Special Judge, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Cases, Rajsamand.

Justices A M Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and C T Ravikumar ruled, "We may sum up thus: In the case of the present nature, the crime had been of extreme depravity, which shocks the conscience, particularly looking to the target (a seven-and-a-half-year old mentally and physically challenged girl) and then, looking to the manner of committing murder, where the hapless victim's head was literally smashed, resulting in multiple injuries including a fracture of the frontal bone."

Justice Maheshwari observed, "In the present case, where all the elements surrounding the offence as also all the elements surrounding the offender cut across the balance sheet of aggravating and mitigating circumstances, we are clearly of the view that there is absolutely no reason to commute the sentence of death to any other sentence of lesser degree. Even the alternative of awarding the sentence of imprisonment for the whole of the natural life with no remission does not appear justified in view of the nature of crimes committed by the appellant and looking to his incorrigible conduct."

"The heinous nature of the crime, like that of the present one, in brutal rape and killing of a mentally and physically challenged girl, who was only about seven-and-a-half-year-old, definitely carries excessively aggravating circumstances, particularly when the manner of commission of both the major offences of rape and murder shows the depravity of highest order and would ex facie shock anyone's conscience," the court's judgement read. "The horrific manner of killing the victim by causing ghastly head injuries had been nothing less than beastly conduct of the appellant," it added.

The bench refused to show any leniency to the convict and said that the mere selection of the target victim by the accused "shocks conscience". The judgement said, "This is apart from the fact that the innocent victim was kidnapped on a stolen motorcycle by misusing the trust gained by the offer of confectionary items and also, apart from the fact that she was brutally and inhumanly raped. Taking up the test parameters pertaining to the criminal (i.e., the appellant), of course, he has a family with a wife and minor daughter and aged father, and the crime was committed when he was only 28 years of age."

The court pinned the mentioned factors against many other aspects regarding the convict. One of them was his activities before the crime in question that he was involved in at least four cases of serious offences. "Second, being the fact that the present crime itself was carried out with the aid of a stolen motorcycle. Third, and crucial one being his conduct post-conviction where he not only earned seven days' punishment in jail for quarrelling with a co-inmate, but he has been convicted of the offence of murder of another jail inmate," the judgement read. These factors lead only to the logical deduction that there was no possibility that he would not relapse again in this crime if given any indulgence, it observed.

It said, "A fortiori, there appears no probability of his reformation and rehabilitation. This possibility of the appellant relapsing in the same crime over again and nil probability of his reformation/rehabilitation is a direct challenge as also a danger to the maintenance of order in the society. Consequently, we find it to be a case of no other option but to confirm the death sentence awarded to the appellant, for that being inevitable in this particular case."

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TAGS:RajasthanmurderRapeminorRajasthan HCdeath sentenceKidnapphysically challengedmentally challenged
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