The Supreme Court on Thursday sentenced to death the daughter and the son-in-law of former Haryana MLA Relu Ram for murdering him, his wife Krishna and six other members of the family including three minor children in 2001 with the motive of usurping the entire ancestral property in Hisar.
Allowing the State of Haryana's appeal against the Punjab and Haryana High Court's order to reduce the sentence to life imprisonment, a Bench of Justice B N Agrawal and Justice P P Naolekar restored the order of the trial court that had awarded capital punishment to the couple.
Sonia and her husband Sanjiv Kumar had brutally killed seven members of her family by hitting them on their heads with iron rod while they were asleep at their farm-house in Litani Mod in Hisar. Sanjiv had fled after the crime while Sonia consumed opium to misguide the police about the motive of the crime.
Those killed were Relu Ram, his wife Krishna, daughter Priyanka, his son from the other wife Sunil, Sunil's wife Shakuntala, and three children of Sunil - Likesh, Shivani and Preeti.
This is the second judgment awarding death penalty to convicts this week. Earlier, a Bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat had upheld the death sentenced awarded to two men in Karnataka who had killed a girl in their village after raping her.
Terming the Haryana case as the "rarest of the rare", the Bench said, "there would be failure of justice in case death sentence is not awarded in the present case."
Both the accused persons are not possessed of the basic humanness and completely lack the psyche and mind set which can be amenable for any reformation, it observed giving them death penalty.
The court took note of the fact that the accused not only put an end to the lives of her step-brother and his whole family, which included three tiny tots of 45 days. Two-and-a-half years and four years, but also her own father, mother and sister in a very diabolic manner so as to deprive her father from giving the property to her step brother and his family.
"The fact that the murders in question were committed in such a diabolic manner while the victims were sleeping, without any provocation whatsoever from the victims' side indicates the cold-blooded and premeditated approach of the accused to cause death of the victims," the Bench said.
Terming the manner of the killing of the helpless victims as brutal, grotesque and revolting, the court said it "is indicating of the fact that the act was diabolic of most superlative degree in conception and cruel in execution…"
The Bench said, "If this act is not revolting or dastardly, it is beyond comprehension as to what other act can be so."