The Delhi High Court on Friday said the touchstone for awarding death sentence to a convict should be whether he or she is such a dangerous person that sparing his life would endanger the community.
A Bench headed by Judge Pradeep Nandarjog gave this ruling while commuting the death sentence awarded by the trial court to a man, who had raped and murdered a five-year-old girl, to 20 years in jail.
After raping the girl, accused Ranjeet had strangled her. When the body became lifeless, not realising that there was some life left in her, he threw the girl in some muddy water. Medical reports later said the minor finally died by drowning.
Terming the crime “rarest of rare”, the trial court had given Ranjeet the death sentence in November 2008. The High Court noted that in 2001, in a similar case, the Supreme Court did not agree with the view that it was an extreme rarest of rare case. Hence, the sentence of death was reduced to imprisonment for life.
“A solitary stray conduct, though serious, heinous, dirty and perverted, was not to warrant a conclusion that he was such a dangerous person that to spare his life would endanger the community,” the court said.
Ranjeet got 20 years of imprisonment with no eligibility for any parole or remission.