INDIA: SUPREME COURT COMMUTES DEATH SENTENCE OF FOUR TO LIFE IMPRISONMENT
|The Supreme Court in New Delhi
February 28, 2014: the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of four persons to life imprisonment on the ground of their young age and deprived socio-economic background. A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said the behaviour of the condemned prisoners inside the jail was very good and they were not beyond reformation.
"All the four accused were young in age at the time of commission of the offence i.e. 23-29 years. They belong to the economically, socially and educationally deprived section of the population. They were living in acute poverty. It is possible that, being young, they had a yearning for quick money and it is these circumstances that had led to the commission of the crimes in question," the bench said.
The prisoners â Santosh Manohar Chavan, Amit Ashok Shinde, Yogesh Madhukar Chavan and Mahesh Dhanaji Shinde â were awarded death sentence for killing 9 innocent and unsuspecting victims in Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra. The crimes were committed over a period of nearly two months in three different incidents and the victims include two children.
"Balancing the two sets of circumstances i.e. one favouring commutation and the other favouring upholding the death penalty, we are of the view that in the present case the option of life sentence is not unquestionably foreclosed. Therefore, the sentence of death awarded to the accused should be commuted to life imprisonment," it said. (Sources: PTI, 28/02/2014)