Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Chhattisgarh to witness first capital punishment

Rashmi Drolia, TNN | Feb 27, 2015, 08.34PM IST

RAIPUR: A review petition filed in Supreme Court by death row convict Sonu Sardar of Baikunthpur district against his death sentence was dismissed on February 10, state police said on Friday. The brief order uploaded on Supreme Court's website says that its judgment dismissing his appeal against the death sentence does not suffer from any error apparent warranting its reconsideration. Talking to TOI, Raipur Central Jail DIG KK Gupta confirmed saying that Sonu Sardar who was in Raipur jail till Friday evening and was being sent to Baikunthpur where he would be presented before district court and the death warrant will be released. Sardar has been in Raipur Central Jail for last 6-7 years.

As per court sources, Sardar's counsel Raju Ramachandran suggested before the bench of three judges that while there can be a presumption that youth and tender age are factors which could help reformation; it could be dislodged by the prosecution. One of the judges Justice Chelameswar specifically agreed with Raju Ramachandran that the fact that the convict did not participate in the jail break could be a mitigating factor, but was reluctant to place greater weight on the jailor's report recommending commutation of sentence for the convict on this and other grounds, as compared to the courts' conclusion that he did not deserve commutation.

Sardar, who was purportedly few months above the age of minority at the time of crime, was convicted and sentenced to death for killing five family members including two minors of a scrap dealer in Raipur on November 26, 2004, by the trial court on February 27, 2008. Chhattisgarh high court and Supreme Court had confirmed it on March 8, 2010 and February 23, 2012 respectively. Supreme Court had then on June 19, 2014 stayed execution of his death sentence.

The President had earlier rejected his mercy plea. However, Sonu Sardar is unlikely to benefit from the delay factor in disposing his mercy petition by the President, as all doors have been closed for him, unless the President gives due consideration to his second mercy petition, following the rejection of his review petition by Supreme Court. This would be the first capital punishment in Chhattisgarh while the last person hanged to death was Baiju alias Rambharosa on October 25, 1978, in undivided Madhya Pradesh. He was accused of murder of four people of same family at Gauripur at Surguja division.

Source: [last accessed on 04.03.2015]

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