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Delhi HC has modified the sentence given by a trial court by convicting the accused under sections 452 and 302 of IPC and directed him to undergo imprisonment for the remainder of his life, without remission before he undergoes imprisonment for 25 years, for killing a 16 year old girl by throwing acid on her.

A division bench of Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal was hearing the appeal filed by accused challenging his sentence along with appeals filed by State and Girl’s father seeking enhancement of Sentence given by the trial court to accused who mercilessly killed a 16 year old girl by throwing acid on her.

Hori Lal, father of the deceased-victim contended that the sentence imposed by the trial court is grossly inadequate inasmuch as it failed to consider the aggravating circumstances of the case and the conduct of the accused. He stated that the sentencing order passed by the trial court needed to be enhanced as the act of the accused was gruesome and it was a pre-planned murder of a young innocent and helpless girl. He pointed out that the Supreme Court in Sevaka Perumal and another Vs. State of Tamil Nadu, (1991) 2 SCC 471 after referring to the decision in Mahesh Vs. State of M.P., (1987) 3 SCC 80 has held: “Therefore, undue sympathy to impose inadequate sentence would do more harm to the justice system to undermine the public confidence in the efficacy of law and society could not long endure under serious threats. If the courts did not protect the injured, the injured would then resort to private vengeance. It is, therefore, the duty of every court to award proper sentence having regard to the nature of the offence and the manner in which it was executed or committed etc.”

Delhi HC observed that mother of the deceased-victim — an eye witness — has narrated the entire incident with sufficient particulars and has categorically stated that the accused had caused death of the deceased-victim.

“Not only the statement of victims mother trustworthy and inspires confidence, but it is also corroborated by the victim’s dying declaration as well as (neighbour) Prem Lata’s testimony and accused’s disclosure statement which led to recovery of the cane and plastic sack, which the FSL report confirmed containing sulphuric acid,” said the bench.

The accused in his appeal before the court had claimed that he was in a relationship with the girl and she committed suicide after he teased her elder sister, but the court rejected the argument, also pointing out that medical reports showed that the deceased girl had an intact hymen.

Holding that Delhi High Court said it is of the view that the appeal of the accused is bereft of merits.

“In the present case as the deceased-victim was a defenceless young girl aged about 16 years, who had given no provocation or intimidation and the accused had decided to eliminate the deceased-victim in a ghastly pre-planned manner, this Court is of the view that the accused’s punishment needs to be modified as a clear message needs to be sent to the society that those who indulge in acid attack shall not be let off lightly,” said the court.

Court also directed that the accused’s case for remission shall not be considered till he undergoes imprisonment for twenty-five years. “The sentence already undergone by the appellant-accused shall be set off. Accordingly the appeals filed by the State as well as the victim‟s father stand disposed of with the above direction,” said the court.

—India Legal Bureau

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