Supreme Court gives 2nd thought on death penalty

Mahima Gherani

Showing increasing distress in awarding death penalty, the Supreme Court found two main questions bothering it after Sonu Sardar was awarded death penalty by the trial court, which was accepted by the High Court and further ratified by the apex court and his merciful plea was rejected by the President.

Sonu along with his minor collaborators were arrested but three of them flee after looting and murdering the family of a Muslim scrap dealer, including two minor children and women in Chattisgarh. After committing the crime, Sonu was the only one to be held for trial and the other three absconders where yet to be arrested.

Appearing on Sonu’s side advocate Raja Ramachandran said that it had now come to light that the accused was 18 years and 2months old while committing the crime, and not 23 years as it was recorded in the judgment.

The two major questions before the Chattisgarh counsel were, Firstly whether the accused was just above the age of juvenility, and Secondly being whether it was could be clearly pin pointed that Sonu played a major role in multiple murders committed.

Interestingly, both these issues had come before the court only in February 2012.

Speaking for the accused Mr.Ramachandran said that there were no previous criminal records pending against him and nor did he ever try to escape during the jail break even though he had a fair chance. In his opinion, the court had erroneously recorded that there were no circumstances in Sonu’s favour. The State had failed in discharging his duty of proving that the convict was beyond the realm of reformation.

Taking into account all the issues that came before the court, the judgment of 2012 was that even though Sonu was young, he had committed a crime which was pre-meditated and he was a threat to the society which was one among the rarest of the rare cases where death penalty was the appropriate punishment to be given.

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