SC modifies death sentence of rape, murder convict

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld conviction of a man from Madhya Pradesh for rape and murder of a five-year old child after kidnapping her in a van he was driving to drop her at the school in 2015.

The court, however, modified the death penalty awarded to convict Sachin Kumar Singhraha and sentenced him to life imprisonment with a minimum 25-year of jail without remission.

A bench of Justices N V Ramana, Mohan M Shantanagoudar and Indira Banerjee said the appellant has “committed a heinous offence in a premeditated manner.”

He gave a false pretext of dropping the victim to school to gain her custody and thus not only abused the faith reposed in him, but also exploited the innocence and helplessness of a child as young as five years of age, the court said.

At the same time, the bench said, we are not convinced that the probability of reform of the accused was low, in the absence of prior offending history.

The court took into consideration the facts that the convict was just 38-40 years of age.

“The crime in question may not fall under the category of cases where the death sentence is necessarily to be imposed. However, keeping in mind the aggravating circumstances of the crime, we feel that the sentence of life imprisonment simpliciter would be grossly inadequate in the instant case,” the bench said.

In his appeal against the high court as well as Satna trial court’s judgements, the appellant contended, among other things that the case of the prosecution mainly rested on the last seen circumstance, but that was also not duly proved.

“Justice cannot be made sterile by exaggerated adherence to the rule of proof, the court said as it found his plea false since the child, who was handed over to him by her uncle, did not reach school on the fateful date.

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SC modifies death sentence of rape, murder convict

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