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Mother of 4-year-old rape victim moves Supreme Court against commuting of death sentence to accused

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A review petition has been filed in the Supreme Court by a woman seeking the review of its judgment commuting the death sentence awarded to a convict for the rape and murder of her four-year-old daughter.

On April 19, 2022, the bench of Justice U.U. Lalit, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Bela M. Trivedi had observed that the maximum punishment prescribed may not always be the determinative factor for repairing the crippled psyche of the offender.

In its judgment, the bench held the prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt all the circumstances individually and also proved the circumstances individually and also proved the circumstances forming a chain, so conclusive as to rule out the possibility of any other hypothesis except the guilt of the accused.

The Trial Court had awarded death sentence to the accused Mohd Firoz for the offence under Section 302 of IPC , rigorous imprisonment and fine for the offences under Sections 363 , 366 , 376(2)(i), 376(2)(m) of IPC and under Sections 5(i)r/w 6 & 5(m) r/w 6 of POCSO Act. The High Court dismissed his appeal and confirmed the death sentence.

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The review petition filed by the mother of the four-year-old victim sought directions to allow the Review Petition and restore the Death Penalty originally imposed upon the accused and award sentence of imprisonment for the remainder of his natural life, instead of 20 years imprisonment.

The petitioner has cited several cases from the last few years where the Supreme Court has treated cases u/s 376/302 IPC where the ages of the victims were 16 years or below.

The petitioner has argued that the Top Court committed a manifest error by applying the ratio of Shatrughna Baban Meshram Vs. State of Maharashtra.

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It has been submitted in the Petition that the impugned judgment seems to have overlooked the cruel, diabolic, brutal, depraved and gruesome nature of the crime committed in the present case.

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