The Supreme Court has commuted death penalty awarded to a jilted lover for killing a married woman by throwing acid on her, to life imprisonment, saying there was no special reason to send him to the gallows.
A three-judge bench presided over by Justice S A Bobde also said that there was no particular depravity or brutality in the acts of the appellant that warranted a classification of this case as ‘rarest of the rare’.
The top court set aside a Madhya Pradesh High Court judgement of December 12, 2014 which confirmed the death penalty awarded to Yogendra alias Jogendra Singh by a district court of Morena for the murder of one Smt Ruby by pouring acid on her on July 21, 2013.
It noted that the incident was related to the appellant being disappointed in his relation with the deceased who he believed deserted him.
The circumstance and particularly the choice of acid do not disclose a cold-blooded plan to murder the deceased, it said.
“Like in many cases (of acid attack) the intention seems to have been to severely injure or disfigure the deceased; in this case we think the intention resulted into an attack more severe than planned which then resulted in the death of the deceased. It is possible that what was premeditated was an injury and not death,” the bench also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and R Subhash Reddy said.
The state government sought imposition of death penalty, contending that the appellant had committed the offence while he was out on bail in a murder case, where too, he had been convicted.
“It is undoubtedly difficult to ignore this fact but we find that it is safer to consider the imposition of sentence based on the facts of this particular case. Unquestionably, if there is a pattern discernible across both the cases then a second conviction for murder would warrant the imposition of a death sentence. But that does not appear to be so in the present case,” the bench said.
The court noted there was a gap of more than 10 years between the two incidents as the previous one was of 1994 while the present one was of 2013.