INDIA: SC SAVES MAN WHO MURDERED WIFE, 3 KIDS FROM THE GALLOWS
February 29, 2012: Holding that the gruesome murders were committed on the spur of the moment due to suspicion of his spouse's infidelity, the Supreme Court has commuted to life term the death penalty of a man who murdered his wife and their three kids in Madhya Pradesh's Dewas district.
A bench of Justices, while altering the sentence to 21 years, felt the murders by Brajendra Singh of his wife Aradhana and their three children did not fall under the "rarest of rare category" warranting capital punishment.
"He has lost his children, whom he had brought up for years, and also his wife. Besides that, it was not a planned crime and also lacked motive. It was a crime which had been committed out of suspicion and frustration.
"The circumstances, examined cumulatively, would to some extent suggest the existence of a mental imbalance in the accused at the moment of committing the crime.
"It cannot be conceived, much less accepted, by any stretch of imagination that the accused was justified in committing the crime as he claims to have believed at that moment," the apex court said.
A bench of Lustices AK Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar passed the judgment upholding Singh's appeal challenging the death sentence awarded by the sessions court and upheld by the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
On the night of February 27, 2005, Singh inflicted knife injuries on Aradhna and set her ablaze after a scuffle and also stabbed his three kids Varsha, Lokesh and Mayank, to death while they were fast asleep.
Singh had claimed it was his wife who set herself ablaze and stabbed the children after she refused to end her alleged illicit relationship with a neighbour. He maintained the incident had occurred when he spotted his wife and the neighbour in a compromising position.
However, the prosecution proved it was Singh who had committed all the three murders. (Sources: PTI, 29/02/2012)