In a judgment having far-reaching consequences for married people having illicit relationships, the Supreme Court has quashed the death sentence of two people who killed the husband of a woman with whom they had an illicit relationship and three of his sons at a gurdwara in Punjab 15 years ago.
While upholding the state high court's reduction of death penalty to life imprisonment for Kamaljit Singh and Manjit Singh, sewadars at gurdwara Bara Sirhind in Sirhind, a bench of justices Mukundakam Sharma and BS Chauhan said that their behaviour was "driven more by infatuation". They did not find the brutal killings in this case as being "rarest of rare".
"Though the act is a gruesome one, it was a result of human mind going astray. No doubt, they acted in a ghastly manner for which, in our considered view, they have been adequately punished," the judges said while upholding the high court order that modified the death sentence to life imprisonment.
Their paramour, Bhinder Kaur, was also an accused and has been sentenced to life. Married to Sewa Singh, the municipal commissioner of Sirhind City, Bhinder Kaur's extra-marital relationship with the accused did not escape her family. She had to cut down her meetings with Kamaljit and Manjit. Bhinder Kaur had three grown-up sons, Rachhpal Singh alias Happy, Inderjit Singh and Kuldeep Singh, who too served at the gurdwara.
After she told them the reason she was not able to meet them, the accused "lost their balance and acted in a cruel manner" by entering Sewa Singh's house at night and killing him there. The three sons were killed in the gurdwara. For a case to be regarded as "rarest of rare", the court observed, after committing one offence another offence is committed to cover up the first one.
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