|Appeal against verdict in rape and murder case dismissed|
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the death sentence awarded to a school teacher for the rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl.
A Pune trial court awarded death sentence to the appellant Shivaji of Pune for the rape and murder of the girl in January 2002. The Bombay High Court confirmed the punishment and the present appeal was directed against it.
Dismissing the appeal, an apex court Bench said: “This case falls in the rarest of rare category. The circumstances highlighted establish the depraved acts of the accused, and they call for only one sentence, that is the death sentence.”
Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice Mukundakam Sharma said: “A large number of cases in recent times coming before this court involving rape and murder of young girls, is a matter of concern. In the instant case the victim was about nine years…she was not only raped but murdered by the accused appellant.”
Writing the judgment, Justice Pasayat said: “Protection of people is an essential function of the State. It could be achieved through instrumentality of criminal law. Undoubtedly, there is a cross cultural conflict where the living law must find an answer to the new challenges and the courts are required to mould the sentencing system to meet the challenges. The contagion of lawlessness would undermine social order and lay it in ruins. Protection of society and stamping out criminal proclivity must be the object of law which must be achieved by imposing an appropriate sentence.”
The Bench said: “Proportion between crime and punishment is a goal respected in principle, and in spite of errant notions, it remains a strong influence in the determination of sentences. Anything less than a penalty of greatest severity for any serious crime is thought then to be a measure of toleration that is unwarranted and unwise.
“It is expected that the Courts would operate the sentencing system so as to impose such sentence which reflects the conscience of the society and the sentencing process has to be stern where it should be. Imposition of sentence without considering its effect on the social order in many cases may be in reality a futile exercise. The social impact of the crime, e.g. where it relates to offences against women, dacoity, kidnapping, misappropriation of public money, treason and other offences involving moral turpitude or moral delinquency which have great impact on social order, and public interest, cannot be lost sight of and per se require exemplary treatment.
“Any liberal attitude by imposing meagre sentences or taking too sympathetic a view merely on account of lapse of time in respect of such offences will be result-wise counter-productive in the long run and against societal interest which needs to be cared for and strengthened by a string of deterrents inbuilt in the sentencing system.”
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