The Supreme Court passed the judgment in two cases and punished three people with the DEATH PENALTY. The judgments in both cases were rendered by the same Bench of Justices Rohinton Nariman, R Subhash Reddy, and Surya Kant. Let’s discuss the cases in brief.

  1. Ravi S/o Ashok Ghumare vs. the State of Maharashtra

This was an appeal from the decision of the Bombay High Court confirming the death sentence passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Jalna. In the present case, the appellant raped a two year old girl and when found, the girl was taken to the hospital where she was declared dead. The appellant had been found guilty of the offences punishable under Section 302, 363, 376 and 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Among these, he was ordered death sentence for Section 302 and rigorous imprisonment with fine for the rest of the offences. The Trial Court and the High Court both categorized this case within the purview of the ‘rarest of the rare cases’ and therefore the conviction of the appellant under Sections 302, 376, 377 and 363 of the IPC was upheld.

This led to the Appeal in the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court concluded that an overwhelming eye-witness account, circumstantial evidence, medical evidence and DNA analysis on record conclusively proved that it was the appellant alone who committed the crime in this case. It, therefore, “unhesitatingly” upheld the conviction of the appellant.

The Counsel for the Appellant Nitya Ramakrishnan stated that the Courts below only looked into the ‘nature’ and ‘brutality’ of the offence. As per her these are not the only criteria upon which one should look while awarding the death sentence. The reformative approach should also be kept in mind and it should be seen whether the accused can reform and be the better person.

Therefore the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence while stating that his conduct lacked kindness and leads to a belief that he cannot be reformed.

  1. Ishwari Lal Yadav & Ors. vs. the State of Chhattisgarh

The following case consists of challenging the two judgments of the Chhattisgarh High Court delivered in 2014 and 2016. In these two cases, the two appellant, the husband Ishwari Lal Yadav and the wife Kiran Bai was charged with the death penalty of murdering a two year old boy Chirag and a six year old girl Manisha in furtherance of the black magic activities. Both the dead bodies were found in the backyard of the appellant in a very gruesome manner.

Considering the nature of the murders, the two accused were served the death penalty, whereas their disciples were punished for kidnapping the children with the intent of murder and criminal conspiracy.

It was also stated before the Court that the Trial Court and the High Court have made a mistake in awarding a decision of death penalty to the accused on the basis of the extra-judicial confessions. The Supreme Court, however, pointed out that extra-judicial confessions could be relied upon if there is sufficient corroborative evidence.

With regard to the murder of the Manisha, the Supreme Court ruled that the disciples of the accused were also be punished for hiding evidence along with the two main accused. And with regards, to the matter of the murder of Chirag, the Court stated that the prosecution has failed to provide the evidence of others except the two main accused to prove the common intention.

The bench, therefore, awarded the death penalty to both the main accused.

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