A Delhi High Court Bench of Justice Mukta Gupta and Justice Anish Dayal has commuted the death sentence of a man convicted of kidnapping and murdering a 12-year-old child, on the ground that the case was not in the category of the "rarest of the rare" cases.

In that context, the Court observed that "It is not a case where reformation of the appellant is not possible and accordingly, this Court is of the considered view that sentence of imprisonment of life with no remission till 20 years would be the appropriate sentence. The sentence of the appellant is thus modified to rigorous imprisonment for life with no remission till 20 years and to pay a fine of ₹1 lakh, in default whereof, to undergo simple imprisonment for six months for offence punishable under Section 302 IPC".

In this case, the High Court was hearing a reference seeking confirmation of the death sentence by a Trial Court. The man had been convicted of kidnapping and murdering his 12-year-old neighbour in 2009.

The High Court took the considered view that based on the available evidence, it could be inferred that the murder was not premeditated since the convict did not possess any weapons at the time of the incident.

Subsequently, it was said that "Though causing death of someone in itself is perversity, however causing death by smothering and inflicting injuries by jack handle though opined to be consistent with intense torture, cannot be held to be a diabolic or seriously perverse manner of committing murder so as to shock the collective conscience of the society and fall in the category of rarest of rare cases."

In light of the same, the Court modified the sentence awarded to that of life imprisonment, with no remission until 20 years.

Cause Title: Jeevak Nagpal v The State

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