Bombay High Court overturned the death punishment in a rape and murder case [Ashok Baban Mukane vs The State of Maharashtra]

 The death sentence of a man convicted of killing and raping a teenager was recently vacated by the Bombay High Court on the grounds that the murder charge could not be proven [Ashok Baban Mukane vs The State of Maharashtra].

While the charge of rape  proven beyond all reasonable doubts, the prosecution failed to establish; the charge of murder, according to a bench of Justices Sadhana Jadhav and Prithwiraj Chavan; who were hearing a confirmation plea and an appeal against the same sentence.

It determined that the case does not fulfil the sessions court’s criteria of the rarest of rare cases.

As a result, the Court overturned the death sentence; but upheld the life sentence imposed by the trial court for rape.

The incident happened on September 5, 2013, as the victim was returning home. She was strolling along the railway lines when the accused approached her and raped her, according to the prosecution. He allegedly killed her by beating her in the head with a rough weapon after she resisted him.

He found guilty of murder and rape by the Additional Sessions Judge, who; sentenced him to death for murder and life imprisonment for rape.

This led to the recent High Court appeal.

After concluding that; the deceased murdered and raped, the court reasoned that; the two crimes could have been committed by separate individuals because; the murder weapon could not be found and the accused has no signs of resistance.

As a result, it decided that; the prosecution failed to prove any link between the victim’s death and the appellant, and thereby; overturned the appellant’s murder conviction under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.

The conviction for rape under section 376(1) of the IPC  upheld, and; he ordered to serve his sentence.

The District Legal Services Authority  directed to pay the victim’s mother Rs. 5 lakh in compensation within six months, and the plea  dismissed.

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