The death sentence of a man convicted of raping and murdering a four-year-old girl in a Madhya Pradesh village in April 2013 was commuted this week by the Supreme Court.
A bench of Justices UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat, and Bela M Trivedi commuting the sentence observed that the maximum punishment prescribed may not always be the determining factor in repairing the offender’s crippled psyche.
According to news agency ANI, the apex court stated in its April 19 judgement that when the offender is released from prison, he should be given the opportunity to repair the damage he has caused and to become a socially useful individual.
According to the report, the judges quoted author Oscar Wilde while commuting the death sentence: “Only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future”.
The Sessions Court in Madhya Pradesh’s Seoni Court had registered offences under various sections of the IPC in 2014, and one of them was sentenced to life imprisonment. Mohd. Firoz Khan was sentenced to death by the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Jabalpur in the same year.
Accused Firoz’s appeal was dismissed by the high court, which upheld his death sentence.
In the case of the death penalty, the SC panel decided that it is proper to commute the death penalty to a life sentence under Section 302 of the IPC. The panel claimed that, given the gravity and seriousness of the offence, a sentence of imprisonment would have been appropriate under Section 376A of the IPC.
The panel quoted British novelist Oscar Wilde as saying, “The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future,” in highlighting the tenets of restorative justice.
When the offender is released from prison, the court believes it is critical to give him the opportunity to repair the harm he has caused and to become a socially useful individual.
“While balancing the scales of retributive justice and restorative justice, we deem it appropriate to impose upon the appellant-accused a sentence of imprisonment for a period of twenty years rather than imprisonment for the remainder of his natural life for the offence under section 376A,” the Court concluded.
The case began in 2013, when two of the accused, Md. Firoz Khan and Rakesh Chaudhary, went to a home to provide a day’s accommodation to an unknown person.
Rakesh Choudhary left after the victim’s mother was denied, while Firoz Khan took advantage of the opportunity to kidnap the 4-year-old victim girl who was playing in the house’s courtyard.
The family of the victim had filed a missing person report with the local police station. The girl was discovered unconscious in a field in MP’s Ghansaur the next day. In April 2013, the victim died in Nagpur while undergoing treatment, and a post-mortem report revealed that she had been raped.
Here are some recent examples of the Supreme Court commuting the death sentences of rapists and murderers convicted of harming children:
In February of 2022, The Supreme Court commuted a 40-year-old man’s death sentence for raping and murdering a seven-year-old girl in Uttar Pradesh’s Kushinagar district in 2015. The convict will not be eligible for remission until he has served 30 years in prison, according to a three-judge panel.
“His spotless jail record, as well as the fact that he has a wife, children, and an elderly father, point to the possibility of his reformation.” The Supreme Court has put on hold the execution of a man’s death sentence for raping and killing an 11-year-old girl in Dehradun in 2018.
While hearing the convict’s appeal against the Uttarakhand High Court’s January 2020 verdict, the Supreme Court ordered that a psychological evaluation of the appellant be conducted and the results presented to the court.
The death penalty for a man convicted of raping and killing a three-year-old girl in 2016 is commuted by the Supreme Court in December 2021. According to the Supreme Court, the trial court and high court in Chhattisgarh only considered the crime, not the criminal, his state of mind, or his socioeconomic background.
“It cannot be said that there is no chance of the appellant being reformed and rehabilitated, precluding the imposition of a lesser sentence and necessitating the imposition of a death sentence.”