The Delhi High Court has commuted to life imprisonment the death sentence given by a trial court to a youth for killing his father five years ago and chopping of his body into pieces as a sacrifice to a deity. The youth committed this act in the belief that it would ward off his marital troubles.
“The unusual nature of facts needs to be considered to decide the sentence. This is perhaps the kind of crime which the Supreme Court referred to as having been committed by one morally-mentally retarded or disordered person.Taking these into consideration he cannot be termed as an “irredeemable murderer” who is beyond the pale of reformation,” said a bench headed by justice S Ravindra Bhat. The court was hearing an appeal filed by one Jitender against the death sentence awarded to him by a trial court in January 2011.
Significantly, the court directed that in all cases of serious crimes like murder and homicide where the accused are alleged to have indulged in unusual behavior, indicative of mental disorder or disturbance, the magistrate taking cognisance of the offence alleged shall refer the accused for suitable medical check-up.
This will be done to evaluate the possibility of his or her being of a mental condition which might entitle him or her to avail the defence of insanity.
The trial court had awarded capital punishment to Jitender terming his crime as the “rarest of rare” warranting nothing less than the gallows.”The brutal murder of the father followed by the mutilation of his body, all in the name of human sacrifice, to appease the deity for his own welfare, adds a grave dimension to this case and leaves no scope for escape from the conclusion that it is a case falling in the category of rarest of rare, meriting the extreme penalty,” the court had said.
Jitender had told the court that he had a dream in which the deity asked him for a human sacrifice to ward off his troubles with his wife.