Sinner With A Future- Supreme Court Reviews Its Order To Further Reduce Sentence Of Convict In Rape-Murder Of 4 Year Old
The Supreme Court has modified an earlier judgment whereby the Court had reduced the death sentence awarded to one Mohammed Firoz for rape-murder of a four-year-old girl, to life imprisonment. The Court has now further reduced the sentence of the convict to imprisonment for 20 years from life imprisonment.
The previous judgment had become controversial as the Court had quoted Oscar Wilde in saying, "The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future" while reducing the sentence to twenty years instead of imprisonment for the remainder of his natural life for the offence under section 376A of IPC.
Mohammed Firoz was convicted for raping a 4-year-old girl in 2013 and killing her by smothering the nose and mouth of the child in Ghansaur in Madhya Pradesh.
The Bench of Chief Justice U U Lalit, Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Bela M Trivedi has now allowed a review petition by holding that the convict shall undergo imprisonment for a period of 20 years for the offence under Sections 376(2)(i) and 376(2)(m) of IPC, and Section 5 (i) and 5 (m) read with Section 6 of the POCSO Act.
The Sessions Court had ordered life imprisonment for POCSO Act offences and the Supreme Court had earlier affirmed the sentence for POCSO Act offences.
The Sessions Court had awarded death sentence for offences of Murder under Section 302 of IPC which was reduced by the Apex Court to life imprisonment earlier.
Senior Advocate B.H. Marlapalle appeared as amicus curiae on behalf of the petitioner-convict and Advocate P.V. Yogeshwaran appeared for the State of Madhya Pradesh.
It was contended on behalf of the convict that the punishment prescribed for the offence under Sections 376(2)(i) and 376(2)(m) of IPC is rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 10 years and for the offence under Section 6 of the POCSO Act shall not be less than 20 years, but in both cases, it may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person's natural life.
It was argued that, "this Court consciously imposed punishment for twenty years and not for life imprisonment for the offence under Section 376(A) of IPC, which otherwise would have meant imprisonment for the remainder of the appellant's natural life, for the reasons stated in the judgment, and therefore the said purpose would be frustrated if the sentences of imprisonment for life confirmed by this Court for the offence under Sections 376(i) and 376(2)(m) of IPC and under Section 5 (i) read with Section 6 and Section 5 (m) read with Section 6 of POCSO ACT are not suitably modified".
The State of MP accepted the aforesaid submissions and left the matter to the discretion of the Court.
"..if the sentence of life imprisonment imposed by the Sessions Court and confirmed by the High Court, is also confirmed by this Court for the offence under Sections 376(2)(i) and 376(2)(m), IPC and for the offence under Section 5 (i) and 5 (m) read with Section 6 of POCSO Act, then the life imprisonment would mean imprisonment for the remainder of the petitioner's (original appellant's) natural life, and in that case, the very purpose of the court in not imposing the sentence of life imprisonment for the remainder of petitioner's life for the offence under Section 376(A) of IPC, would be frustrated", the Court held allowing the review petition.
Cause Title: Mohd Firoz v. State of Madhya Pradesh