While striking off the death penalty of an accused in a 2001 kidnapping-and-murder case, the apex court has termed the capital punishment law "uncertain" and "falling foul of constitutional due process and equality principle."
Observing a "global move" away from death penalty, a division bench of SB Sinha and Cyraic Joseph suggested on May 13 -- "Credible research, perhaps by the Law Commission of India or the National Human Rights Commission, may allow for an up-to-date and informed discussion and debate on the subject." The ruling was made in a case where one Karthikraj Ramraj was kidnapped for a ransom and murdered by his friends, Santosh Bariyar,Sanjeevkumar Roy and Santoshkumar Roy in Bariyar's Pune residence. The Pune trial court in 2005 convicted all 3 accused. While Sanjeevkumar and Santoshkumar were sentenced to life, Bariyar was sentenced to death. This order was upheld by the Bombay high court.
The bench stated the method of weighing the aggravating and mitigating circumstances hasn't worked well "to remove the vice of arbitrariness" of our system.
The court observed that courts should provide clear evidence on why a convict is not fit for any reformatory or rehabilitation scheme before awarding capital punishment.
(Source: DNA India, 7 June)
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