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Lack of criminal antecedents of convict not sole criterion to decide whether case is ‘rarest of rare’: Supreme Court

The appellant was convicted for murdering a woman working in an IT firm in Bengaluru. The incident happened when she used the appellant’s vehicle for conveyance from her office to home at 2 am in the morning.

The woman then went missing and her dead body was recovered at the instance of the appellant.

The prosecution successfully established charges of rape and murder and the appellant was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the rest of his life by the trial court.

Both the State and the appellant filed appeals against the same before the High Court.

Both the appeals were dismissed. The appellant then moved the apex court.

The Court proceeded to consider the limited issue of sentence.

The counsel for the appellant submitted that the convict was only 22 years old at the time of the offence, and he now had a young wife and child, along with aged parents.

His conduct in jail, where he completed an undergraduate degree, had been satisfactory and he posed no threat to society, it was added.

Pertinently, he submitted that Constitutional courts can grant life sentence either for the entirety of life or for a specific period, only while commuting the death penalty imposed on an accused and if the death penalty is not imposed, courts are powerless to impose a modified sentence.

The counsel for the State government argued that Constitutional courts are not powerless to impose modified sentences considering the gravity of the offence, even where a death penalty has not been imposed.

Source: Barandbench

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