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India's Supreme Court
INDIA: SUPREME COURT COMMUTES DEATH PENALTY TO 20-YEAR JAIL IN MINOR’S RAPE-MURDER CASE

May 5, 2022:

The Supreme Court on 19 April 2022 commuted the death sentence of a man, who had sexually assaulted and killed a four-year-old girl in Madhya Pradesh in April 2013, to 20-year imprisonment.
Citing Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde’s famous lines “the only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future”, a bench of Justices U U Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and Bela M Trivedi also refused to sentence convict Mohd Firoz to imprisonment for the rest of his life and instead ordered 20-year imprisonment.
“…one of the basic principles of restorative justice as developed by this court over the years, also is to give an opportunity to the offender to repair the damage caused, and to become a socially useful individual, when he is released from the jail,” Justice Trivedi writing for the bench said in the court’s 19 April order.
The court observed “one of the most barbaric and ugly human faces has surfaced”. “A tiny bud like girl was smothered by the appellant before she could blossom in this world. Any sympathy shown to the appellant would lead to miscarriage of justice. This court has not treated such cases as the rarest of rare,” reads the order.
The trial court had awarded death sentence to Firoz and his co-accused Rakesh Choudhary was handed seven-year rigorous imprisonment. On appeal, the Jabalpur bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court acquitted Choudhary but confirmed Firoz’s death sentence.

(Source: Indianexpress, 21/04/2022)

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