Thursday, October 25, 2012

Confirmation Case to be heard on video conferencing of accused

A division bench of the Bombay High Court is about to begin the hearing the confirmation case wherein the Sessions Court had given death sentence to Nihal Raish Sheikh (30) and Rafique Mohammad Unni Jan Sayyed (27) for the offence of kidnapping and murder. On 23.10.2012 the Court passed an order asking the home department to make arrangements for video conferencing in the court as the Accused No.1 could not attend the court. The doctor from Arthur Road Jail had advised the accused no.1 to be not moved out of jail due to his health conditions. This is the third case after the case of Kasab and the Gateway of India blast case that the confirmation case would be held on video conferencing. The hearing of the case is likely to start on 29.10.2012. Confirmation Case No. 2 of 2011 along with Appeal No. 764 of 2012.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

29 Indians sentenced to death in various countries in the last five years: RTI report

Thane: A total of 29 Indians have been sentenced to death for various criminal offences during the last five years in various countries, the External Affairs Ministry has said in response to an RTI query. In reply to a query under the Right to Information Act by activist Om Prakash Sharma, the MEA report has stated that 21 Indians had been awarded death sentence in the United Arab Emirates, six in Kuwait and one each in Indonesia and Iran. Twenty-seven of those sentenced to death have been convicted for murder along with other offences like abduction, burning, hiding body, theft, adultery and intoxication, the report said. The remaining two have been awarded capital punishment for offences punishable under the Narcotics Act and Drugs Act, it said. In all, 10,647 Indians had been convicted in various countries for criminal offences and imprisoned, including the 29 death penalties. The UAE tops the list with as many as 4,315 Indian convicts, followed by Bangladesh with 2,008 convicts, Kuwait 1,161, China 673, Oman 429, UK 426 and some other nations have less than 250 convicts, the report mentioned.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Man gets death for rape, murder of minor in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: A court in Odisha Monday awarded death sentence to a man convicted earlier for raping and murdering a minor a lawyer said. B.P. Routray district and sessions judge of district headquarters of Sambalpur about 315 km from here sentenced to death Pradip Dalai (28) for abduction rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl in the same town Sep 2. The judge had found Dalai guilty Oct 1 however the judgment came Monday. "Today he (the judge) awarded death sentence to the guilty" public prosecutor Artatran Mishra told IANS. He added that justice was delivered within 35 days of the occurrence of crime. "This is probably for the first time that justice has been delivered by a court so swiftly in this region Mishra said. The man was arrested Sep 3 a day after he committed the crime and police brought charges against him within a week of the crime. Source: [accessed on 8th October 2012]

Punjab HC confirms death but defers hanging of killers of Hoshiarpur boy to Oct 12

A division Bench headed by Justice Surya Kant of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday paved the way for hanging of two persons who had killed Abhi Verma, a 16-year-old boy in Hoshiarpur in 2008. Their hanging, however, has been deferred till October 12 allowing them to challenge the High Court judgment before the Supreme Court. The two killers, Jasbir Singh and Vikram Walia had moved the High Court challenging their death sentence, which has already been upheld by the Supreme Court. The two were to be hanged on October 5. To delay their hanging, the duo had moved the High Court taking a legal ground that death awarded to them under section 364-A of the Indian Penal Code (killing for ransom) is not legally tenable. The petitioners took the ground that section 364-A of IPC deals with offences committed against a state government or Central government and not against a private individual. Counsels for Punjab, Haryana and Central government had opposed the petition filed by the duo and had averred that death sentence be awarded to the two killers. Dismissing the petition filed by the two, the High Court gave a go ahead for the hanging of the two. However, the hanging has been ordered to be put in abeyance till October 12 so that the two can challenge the HC order before apex court by October 12. The two convicts had abducted Abhi Verma, son of a goldsmith from Hoshiarpur, for ransom. A Hoshiarpur Court had awarded death to three accused, including one Sonia, whose death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the Supreme Court last year. However, the apex court had upheld the hanging of Walia and Singh. Source: [accessed on 8th October 2012]

Death penalty for five family members in 'honour killing'

Five members of a family in the Indian capital, Delhi, have been sentenced to death for the brutal murder of a young couple in 2010. Yogesh and Asha were tortured and electrocuted in a so-called honour killing by members of Asha's family who objected to the union on caste grounds. Asha's parents, her uncle, aunt and a cousin were arrested the day after the crime. They were convicted on Monday. Last year the Supreme Court said honour killings should get the death penalty. There are no statistics on the number of honour killings across the country, but according to one recent study, hundreds of people are killed each year for falling in love or marrying against their families' wishes. Most parents in India still prefer arranged marriages within their own caste and relationships outside of caste are frowned upon. The couple, who were neighbours in the Gokulpuri area of north-east Delhi, were taken by Asha's parents to her uncle's house in the Swaroop Nagar area of the city where the torture and killings took place. Asha's family was opposed to the couple's plans to get married because Yogesh belonged to a lower caste. All five accused were convicted on Monday for "murder and voluntarily causing hurt". "It can be safely concluded that the prosecution has been able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused persons had caused the death of the victims with the common intention after giving them merciless beatings by tying them with rope and thereafter electrocuting them on various parts of their body," Additional Sessions Judge Ramesh Kumar said on Monday. IANS [accessed on 8th October 2012]

Friday, October 5, 2012

Qasab deserves legal aid to draft mercy plea

Advocate Yug Chaudhry on why due process must be followed even in this rarest of rare cases Posted On Thursday, October 04, 2012 at 02:04:36 AM A week after Ajmal Qasab was sentenced to death, advocate Yug Chaudhry wrote to the Home Minister and the NHRC, pointing out that Qasab was entitled to legal aid in drafting his mercy petition. Dismayed at the news that the mercy petition, drafted without legal help, has been rejected, Chaudhry tells Jyoti Punwani why it is necessary to follow the spirit and letter of the law - even in Qasab’s case. Why are you so concerned with Qasab getting legal aid at this stage? Haven’t we given him a fair trial, despite his obvious guilt? Yes we have given him due process thus far, and that is why we must continue to do so. Qasab has a right to file mercy petitions before the governor and the President, but he lacks the wherewithal to so. He is illiterate, a stranger to our laws, and a foreigner abandoned by his countrymen. Since he is clearly ill-equipped to make a mercy petition which it is his right to make, he must be given the necessary assistance. He also has a right under our constitution to legal aid at every stage of the judicial and post-judicial proceedings. For rights to be meaningful, they must be accompanied by facilities that render those rights accessible. If we believe in our Constitution and the rule of law, we cannot make an exception in his case. Can a legally drafted mercy petition make any difference to Qasab’s fate? He cannot plead innocence or lack of a fair trial. Neither would a fair trial have made any difference to his fate, but would that have been a reason to deny him one? The question is not whether a mercy petition would make a difference, but whether he is entitled to make one and to receive the necessary assistance. The moment we allow ourselves, through sheer majoritarian sentiment, to decide outcomes without due process, we put all our liberties in jeopardy and negate the very essence of rights, which is to protect each of us from ad-hoc, majoritarian caprice. The scope of a mercy petition encompasses more than innocence and a fair trial, and few lay persons, let alone an illiterate person, would be competent to draft one unaided. Given that the death penalty exists in India, doesn’t Qasab deserve it? An illiterate boy of 13 sold by his family to the LeT, brainwashed into jihad, transformed into a killing machine and sent as a footsoldier to India are mitigating factors that entitle him to the lesser penalty. Qasab’s crime should be contexualised without minimising it, and then we should ask ourselves why are we clamouring for Qasab’s execution while content with life sentences for Babu Bajrangi and Maya Kodnani who perpetrated the Narodya Patya massacres. They killed more or less the same number of people in an equally gruesome manner. Maya Kodnani held public office, and turned on those she was charged to look after and protect. If she doesn’t deserve the death sentence, why does he? How else can Qasab be punished, given the enormity of his crime? Keep him in prison for the rest of his life. Treat him like a human being so that he becomes human again and realises the enormity of his crime. Allow for the possibility of repentance and reformation. Do you feel Qasab deserves mercy? I think all of us - the best and the worst - are in need of mercy, and it is only by showing mercy that, morally, we ourselves become entitled to receiving it. Bereft of mercy, our society would be impoverished and inhuman, for mercy is quintessentially a human quality, not found elsewhere in the natural world. In classical thought and in many faiths, mercy is the manifestation of divinity within us, of a god who is the ultimate bestower of mercy. As for “deserving”, give each man his deserts and who shall escape a whipping? Justice and mercy operate in mutually exclusive realms. It is only when justice demands that punishment be inflicted that mercy comes into play. Mercy tempers justice, makes it less exacting, more humane. Excluding a fellow human being from entitlement to mercy has nothing to recommend it except a very base blood lust that we encourage at our peril. If we have to become a more humane and compassionate society, and leave a better, less blood-thirsty world behind for our children, we have to curb our instinct for bloody retribution. Source: [accessed on 4th October 2012]