SC commutes death sentence to lifer for two | india | Hindustan Times
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SC commutes death sentence to lifer for two

The two brothers had beheaded their brother-in-law and now their sentence has been reduced, reports Satya Prakash.

india Updated: Oct 31, 2006 01:40 IST

The Supreme Court has commuted to life imprisonment, the death penalty awarded to two brothers held guilty of beheading their brother-in-law suspecting him to have murdered their sister.

A Bench of Justice SB Sinha and Justice Markandey Katju reduced the sentence awarded to the brothers taking into the fact that enmity on account their sister's death a decade ago could have been the provocation for the murder.

Sukhwinder Kaur, sister of convicts Major Singh and Baldev Singh, was married to one Kashmir Singh in 1987. She died in 1989. Suspecting that her husband killed her, they killed their brother-in-law. They were held guilty by the trial court and sentenced to death penalty, which was also upheld by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The incident dates back to January 24, 1999, when the convict brothers found Kashmir Singh on a lonely road near village Behak Pachharian, chased him to a nearby field and severed his head.

The trial court convicted the brothers but acquitted two other co-accused. The brothers contended before the apex court that as the prosecution case was found to be false against the other two co-accused, who were acquitted, the same evidence could not be relied upon to convict them.

The Bench, however, rejected the argument, saying that just because two co-accused were acquitted, it did not mean that the entire prosecution case was false.

"It is a well-known fact that in our country, very often, the prosecution implicates not only real assailants but also innocent persons so as to spread the net wide.

The court can always discriminate and find out who were the real assailants and who were not," it said, while reducing the death penalty awarded to the convict brothers to life imprisonment.

Email Satya Prakash: satya.prakash@hindustantimes.com