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SC sentences rapist-murderer of Bengaluru IT employee to 30 yrs jail

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New Delhi | Wednesday, 2023 4:45:09 AM IST
The Supreme Court on Tuesday sentenced a man to 30 years imprisonment for raping and murdering an IT company employee, while driving her home in Bengaluru.

It emphasised that while considering the possibility of reformation of the accused, the court must note that showing undue leniency in such a brutal case will adversely affect the public confidence in the efficacy of the legal system, while ordering that the accused should not be released from jail until he served 30 years' incarceration.

A bench of Justices Abhay S. Oka and Rajesh Bindal said: "When a constitutional court finds that though a case is not falling in the category of 'rarest of the rare' case, considering the gravity and nature of the offence and all other relevant factors, it can always impose a fixed term sentence so that the benefit of statutory remission, etc. is not available to the accused."

The bench noted that the life of the victim, a married woman and happily working in a prominent company, was cut short in this brutal manner.

It held that there is no doubt that even in a case where capital punishment is not imposed or is not proposed, the constitutional courts can always exercise the power of imposing a modified or fixed term sentence by directing that a life sentence, as contemplated by "secondly" in Section 53 of the IPC, shall be of a fixed period of more than 14 years, for example, of 20 years, 30 years and so on.

"The court, while considering the possibility of reformation of the accused, must note that showing undue leniency in such a brutal case will adversely affect the public confidence in the efficacy of the legal system. The Court must consider the rights of the victim as well."

The bench added that after considering circumstances, "we are of the opinion that this is a case where a fixed term sentence for a period of 30 years must be imposed".

The apex court passed the judgment in relation to the question of sentence only as petitioner Shiva Kumar alias Shiva alias Shivamurthy submitted the trial court ordered him to serve a life sentence till the remainder of his life. The high court had dismissed his appeal.

The petitioner's counsel cited apex court judgments in 'Union of India vs V Sriharan alias Murugan & Ors' (2016) and 'Swamy Shraddananda (2) alias Murali Manohar Mishra vs State of Karnataka' (2008), and submitted that a fixed term sentence or modified sentence can be imposed by constitutional courts only in death penalty cases.

In context of the Sriharan case, the bench noted that the constitution bench held that there is a power which can be derived from the IPC to impose a fixed term sentence or modified punishment which can only be exercised by the high court or in the event of any further appeal, by the Supreme Court and not by any other court in this country.

The bench did not accept the petitioner's contention that power to impose modified sentence cannot be exercised by the constitutional courts unless the question is of commuting the death sentence.

The top court said: "We have no manner of doubt that even in a case where capital punishment is not imposed or is not proposed, the constitutional courts can always exercise the power of imposing a modified or fixed term sentence by directing that a life sentence, as contemplated by 'secondly' in Section 53 of the IPC, shall be of a fixed period of more than 14 years, for example, of 20 years, 30 years and so on. The fixed punishment cannot be for a period less than 14 years in view of the mandate of Section 433A of CrPC."

The court modified the trial court's judgement for the convict to remain in jail till the remainder of his life.

--IANS ss/vd

( 656 Words)

2023-03-28-22:52:02 (IANS)

 
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