The Supreme Court on Wednesday commuted death penalty imposed on a man accused of rape and murder of an eight year old girl in Rajasthan.
Reasoned order will follow, said the bench comprising of Justice NV Ramana, Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Justice MR Shah holding that it is not a fit case where extreme penalty of death can be imposed on the accused.
The bench partly allowed the appeal by setting aside the conviction of the accused, Prahlad, under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, while sustaining the conviction for murder of the child. It also converted the death penalty imposed on him into life imprisonment.
In 2015, the trial court had acquitted Prahlad from the charge levelled against him under Section 360, 376(2) (i) and 376A IPC but held him guilty for offence under Section 302 IPC and under Section 3/4 of the POCSO Act, 2012. The court had sentenced him to death.
While dismissing the appeal filed by the accused, and confirming the death sentence, the high court had observed: “The accused appellant offered chocolate to young girl of 8 years who was having trust upon the accused appellant while treating him as maternal-uncle and went along with him but the accused appellant not only committed heinous crime of outraging the majesty of the deceased but also caused injury upon the head by stone, which is evident from the opinion given by the medical board in the post mortem report. It is also evident that the deceased tried to resist but helpless girl was killed by the accused appellant, therefore, it is not only a case of murder and harassing sexually of young girl of 8 years but it is a case in which all the parameters of trust are crushed by the accused appellant. The accused appellant murdered helpless minor girl only to satisfy his physical desire…Upon consideration of the entire evidence and the fact that accused has crushed all limits of trust and committed offence under Section 302 IPC and under the provisions of POCSO Act, therefore, while performing our legal duty, we deem it appropriate to treat this case as rarest of rare case in which lesser punishment than what has been awarded by the learned trial court, cannot be imposed and therefore, we confirm death sentence awarded by the learned trial court.”
The bench had quoted Albert Einstein in its judgment. It said: “After thorough examination of the entire evidence in the light of aforesaid judgments and facts of the present case we cannot lose sight of the message given by Albert Einstein in which he conveyed that:”The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”