The Bombay High Court confirmed the death penalty imposed on a man accused of killing five family members.

The Bench of Justice Vinay Joshi and Justice MW Chandwani observed that, "The offence committed by the accused was neither under duress nor on provocation and innocent lives have been snuffed out by him by violent indiscriminate assault. It was a cold-blooded, preplanned murder. The act was extremely barbaric, cruel and brutal. The accused has killed his own sister, her family and more particularly his own child barely aged 4 years. The act was heartless, in total disregard to the human relationship. It has not only shocked the judicial conscious, but, the conscious of the society."

In light of the same, it was held that, "In view of violent nature of accused, we perceive danger to their lives from the accused. Moreover, the cruel and merciless tendency is a danger for the society and thus, he is not fit to live in a civilized society."

Counsel DV Chauhan and Counsel N Jadhav appeared for the appellant, while Additional APP SS Doifode and APP A Badar appeared for the State.

In 2014, the appellant was convicted by a trial court for killing his wife. During his imprisonment, his two children stayed with his sister and her family. However, the appellant was later acquitted by the High Court. Upon his release, his brother-in-law demanded payment for legal expenses, sparking a dispute. Due to this dispute, on June 10, 2018, at midnight, the appellant used a crowbar to kill his son, sister, brother-in-law, niece, and sister's mother-in-law. He fled to Ludhiana but was apprehended two days later.

The High Court observed that, "We have taken survey of the entire episode. The accused in total disregard to humanity, gender, relations had committed 5 murders of his own kins. He has not even spared his minor son or minor niece. His behaviour was quite cruel, rude and in arrogant manner he stated to the trial Judge to impose death penalty. Post conviction while in jail he made a murderous attack on jail inmate. These instances persuades us to hold that he is beyond improvement and there are no chances of reformation."

Holding that the case fell in the 'Rarest of Rare' category warranting capital punishment, and that any other kind of punishment than the death penalty would be totally disproportionate and would amount to injustice, the death penalty imposed by the Sessions Judge under Section 302 of the IPC was confirmed.


Appellant: Counsels DV Chauhan, N Jadhav

Respondent: Additional APP SS Doifode, APP A Badar

Cause Title: State of Maharashtra vs Vivek Gulabrao Palatkar

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