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Bombay HC commutes death sentence of 2 teens who raped, murdered minor

The court held that the case was not rarest of rare

mumbai Updated: Jan 12, 2018 12:07 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
MUmbai,high court,death sentence
The convicts will have to serve minimum 30 years behind bars without remission(HT File )

The Bombay high court spared two teenagers from the gallows by refusing to confirm the death sentence handed down to them for gang-raping and killing a 4-year-old girl. It instead sentenced them to 30 years imprisonment.

The division bench of justice SS Shinde and justice AM Dhavale said the case involving 18-year-old Bhagwat Kshirsagar and 19-year-old Rahul Kshirsagar could not be called rarest of rare warranting capital punishment.

According to the prosecution, in January 2016, the two kidnapped the minor from her house by luring her with a chocolate and raped, sodomised and brutally killed her. On April 7, 2017, an additional sessions judge at Hingoli convicted both and sentenced them to death.

The high court, however, held that the case was not rarest of rare because there was no evidence clearly indicating the two intended to kill the child, although their act of gagging her mouth resulted in her death.

“Although the accused can be held guilty under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (for having committed a murder) on account of doing an act imminently dangerous, it is not clear whether they intended to cause death of the child or not,” said the bench in this regard. “The offence of murder in this case is not diabolical, although rape and sodomy are brutal,” it added as a reason not to hold it a rarest of rare case.

The bench said no doubt, the acts of the accused were grossly condemnable, as they gagged a 4-year-old helpless and defenceless child after subjecting her to brutal gang-rape. It also took into consideration the young ages of the accused persons. “Extreme young age is recognised as a mitigating circumstance,” it said.

The high court, however, decided to ensure the two remained behind bars for a considerably long time for the ruthless acts committed by them, taking into consideration the gravity and seriousness of the offences. Accordingly, the convicts will have to serve minimum 30 years behind bars without remission.

First Published: Jan 12, 2018 10:52 IST