Death can be awarded on circumstantial evidence: SC

The Supreme Court has pronounced that there is no bar to award death penalty in cases of circumstantial evidence, but the quality of evidence must be of a higher standard in view of irrevocable nature of the punishment.

A bench of Justices, N V Ramana, Mohan M Shantanagoudar and Indira Banerjee, allowed the review petition of Sudam alias Rahul Kaniram Jadhav, a resident of Nanded, against the apex court’s judgement of July 4, 2011, that awarded him the death penalty for killing Anita, his wife who lived with him and four children, two from a previous marriage on August 21, 2007.

In his plea, Jadhav contended that the top court had erroneously stated that he had crushed the face of his deceased wife to avoid identification and there was no medical evidence to support it.

On reviewing the evidence, the court noted that the only material standing against him was his motive to the crime, the circumstance of “last seen” and a solitary extra-judicial confession.

“In other words, it cannot be said that the punishment of life imprisonment is unquestionably foreclosed in the instant case, in spite of the gravity and barbarity of the offence,” the bench said.

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