INDIA: SC COMMUTES DEATH SENTENCE OF CONVICT WHO KILLED 2 SIBLINGS, NEPHEW
December 12, 2021:
The Supreme Court of India on 10 December 2021 commuted the death sentence of a convict for the murder of his two siblings and nephew over a property dispute, stating that the court should take into account the criminal's state of mind along with the crime while handing down a sentence. (Source: India Tv News Desk, 10/12/2021)
The accused, a first-time offender, challenged the high court order in the top court after he was sentenced to death by the trial court on 4 April 2017.
A bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao, B.R. Gavai, and B.V. Nagarathna said: "From the judgment of the trial court as well as the High Court, it does not appear that the courts below have drawn a balance sheet of mitigating and aggravating circumstances.
"The trial court as well as the High Court has only taken into consideration the crime but have not taken into consideration the criminal, his state of mind, his socioeconomic background etc."
The bench noted that the accused hails from a rural and economically poor background and there are no criminal antecedents.
"The appellant cannot be said to be a hardened criminal. This is the first offence committed by the appellant, no doubt, a heinous one. The certificate issued by the jail superintendent shows that the conduct of the appellant during incarceration has been satisfactory," said Justice Gavai, who authored the judgment on behalf of the bench.
The top court said it cannot be said that there is no possibility of the appellant being reformed and rehabilitated foreclosing the alternative option of a lesser sentence and making imposition of death sentence imperative.
Citing these reasons, the top court commuted the death sentence of the accused to 30 years imprisonment.
Bhagchandra was convicted of killing his brothers - Thakur Das and Devki Prasad - and nephew Akhilesh, son of Devki Prasad, in October 2015. A case was registered at police station, Maharajpur, Madhya Pradesh.