SC admits error, commutes death sentence to life
New Delhi: More than eight years after awarding death penalty to a man for killing his wife and four children, including a 10-month old baby, in Maharashtra, the Supreme Court found fault in its verdict regarding the severity of the offence to justify the extreme punishment and commuted his sentence to imprisonment for life.
After re-examining evidence, a bench of Justices N V Ramana, M M Shantanagoudar and Indira Banerjee held that the apex court, while delivering its verdict in 2011, had committed two errors — first by wrongly relying upon unverified extra-judicial confession made by the convict to his former wife, and secondly, by holding that he had crushed the face of his wife even when there was no medical evidence to support such a conclusion.
The three-judge court held that circumstantial evidence was strong enough to convict the accused, but ruled that extreme punishment of death was not justified.
The apex court had in 2011 upheld orders of trial court and the Bombay HC to award him death sentence for killing his wife and four childrenin 2007 in Nanded in Maharashtra.
According to police, the convict was having an extra marital relationship which led to frequent fights between him and his wife. As there was no eye-witness to the crime, the trial court and HC relied upon circumstantial evidence— like he remained absconding for a month after committing the offence and the deceased were last seen with him— to convict him.
Taking into account his conduct in jail, including illegal activities in prison and intentionally abusing prisoners and jail staff, the court directed that he remain in jail for rest of his life.
Full report on www.toi.in