Delhi gang-rape: Brutal, heartless. A fit case for death?
Heartless, cold-blooded, pre-planned and sordid are some of the traits of a crime that qualifies it to be considered fit for the ‘rarest of rare’ category that attracts death penalty.india Updated: Sep 11, 2013 03:29 IST
Heartless, cold-blooded, pre-planned and sordid are some of the traits of a crime that qualifies it to be considered fit for the ‘rarest of rare’ category that attracts death penalty.
The fast-track court that convicted Mukesh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur and Pawan Gupta in the December 16 gang rape case on Tuesday will decide on Wednesday the quantum of punishment.
They have been convicted of several offences ranging from rape and murder to kidnapping and unnatural sex. But it’s their conviction under Section 302 of the IPC for murder that can attract capital punishment. The murder charge was slapped against the accused after the victim died on December 29 in a Singapore hospital.
Generally, courts in India award life imprisonment to murder convicts. However, in the rarest of rare cases, they are given death penalty. Death sentence is imposed on the convicts only when the court comes to the conclusion that life imprisonment is inadequate regarding the facts and circumstances of the case.
Section 354(3) of the CrPC mandates the court to give special reasons for sentencing a convict to death. Capital punishment can be inflicted only in gravest cases of extreme culpability and in making choice of the sentence the condition of the convict is also to be taken into account.
While accused Ram Singh allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail during the trial, a juvenile accused was convicted of rape and murder and sent to a reform home for three years.
Already dissatisfied with the juvenile convict being given a ‘sentence’ of three years in a reformatory, the victim’s family has demanded death penalty for all the four convicts. Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and the leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj have joined the chorus for sending the convicts to the gallows.
Given the extreme brutality committed by the convicts on the 23-year-old woman in a moving bus on December 16, 2012, the court can conclude that the case falls within the category of ‘rarest of rare’ and award them death sentence.
Dhananjoy Chatterjee, convicted of rape of murder of a minor girl in Kolkata, was hanged in August 2004 after the then President APJ Abdul Kalam rejected his mercy plea. Will Delhi convicts also meet the same fate?