Wednesday, May 29, 2019

They had kidnapped a 4-yr-old, and brutally murdered him

Nirupam BanerjeeFeb 19, 2019, 06:15 AM IST

The Gujarat High Court on Monday saved two persons—Akshay Patel and Kuldip Panchal—who had brutally murdered a four-and-a-half-year-old kid for ransom, from the gallows, and converted the death sentence awarded to them by a Visnagar court to 30 years of life imprisonment without remission.

The court, while setting aside the death sentence, remarked that the duo had committed a heinous crime of murdering an innocent, helpless, and a defenceless boy aged four-years-and-five-months, and they are liable to be punished severely. However, it clarified that it is not a case which falls within the category of the rarest of the rare cases. As per the case details, the duo had abducted the child on March 17, 2012, while he was playing outside his house in Visnagar town of Mehsana district and demanded a ransom of Rs 50 lakh from his father. The father, a businessman, told them that he can't arrange the amount at such short notice, and can provide them Rs 12 lakh at the earliest. However, the duo refused to accept the same and threatened to kill the child, if the entire amount is not paid. They had also threatened the man to refrain from involving the police.

Worried about his son's safety, the man informed the police about the abduction and ransom threat. The duo somehow came to know about the same and told the father that now they do not want any money and he will have to pay the price for informing the police. On the next day, they purchased blades, took the child underneath a bridge near Rakhav village, and slit his throat to kill him. Thereafter, they buried the blood-soaked body while the child was still alive. The duo got arrested by the police and the Visnagar sessions court after a thorough trial awarded them a death sentence in March 2016. While the state government moved the high court for confirmation of the death sentence, the duo appealed against the verdict. The high court on Monday rejected the appeals while commuting the death sentence awarded by the lower court to minimum 30 years of imprisonment.

HC SAID that it is not the rarest of the rare cases

Why the death sentence was commuted?
  • The accused were aged 20 years, respectively, while committing the crime and had just attained majority. 
  • Panchal has no criminal antecedent and hails from a poor strata of the society. 
  • No evidence on record to indicate that the duo cannot be reformed. 
  • The child was abducted for money and the duo had no intention to kill him until the situation went out of control.

Criminals are not born, but made
Quoting Justice VR Krishna Iyer, the court said: "Criminals are not born but made. The human potential in everyone is good and so, never write off any criminal as beyond redemption. Indeed, every saint has a past and every sinner a future".

Death penalty should remain on the statute book
While adjudicating the case, the court opined that death penalty should remain in the statute books and should not be wholly abolished. It held that the presence of death penalty act as a deterrent for criminals. The court also held that if people get away after committing serious crimes by being awarded nominal punishments, it may induce people to resort to personal vengeance, which will affect peace and order in the society.

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