[Reader-list] Murders in 'fit of passion' don't deserve death: Apex court
Aditya Raj Kaul
adityarajkaul at gmail.com
Sun Aug 12 16:15:14 IST 2007
Murders in 'fit of passion' don't deserve death: Apex court
New Delhi, Aug 12: In what has alarmed friends of slain Delhi University
law student Priyadarshini Mattoo, the Supreme Court has held that even a
double murder committed "in a fit of passion" after an abortive rape bid
does not deserve death penalty.
A bench of Justice S.B. Sinha and Justice Markandey Katju earlier this week
upheld a Punjab and Haryana High Court ruling, which commuted a death
sentence imposed on a double murder convict by a lower court to life term.
Kulvinder Singh had in August 2002 hacked Hardeep Kaur to death in a Punjab
village after she resisted his bid to rape her. He also killed the girl's
grandmother who tried to save her.
"While upholding the conviction of the accused for murder, we reduce the
sentence to life imprisonment since it appears that the crime was committed
in a fit of passion and does not come within the category of the 'rarest of
rare' to deserve death penalty," the apex court bench ruled.
The sessions court had sentenced Kulvinder Singh to death saying: "The
conduct of the accused depicted him as a person who constituted a threat to
the society. He has forfeited his right to life by his barbarity."
The Supreme Court ruling has alarmed Priyadarshini Matoo's friends and
relatives. The 23-year-old was raped and murdered in January 1996 by Santosh
Santosh, son of senior police officer J.P. Singh, had been allegedly
stalking the girl for over a year.
Aditya Raj Kaul, who spearheaded the campaign 'Justice to Priyadarshini
Mattoo' after a Delhi court acquitted Santosh, said: "It's a shocking ruling
from the highest court of the country."
"At this rate, Santosh Singh's lawyer may also argue before the apex court
that he committed the crime in a fit of passion after he failed to rape her
and may escape the gallows.
"After all Santosh Singh and his lawyers can conveniently cite his past
conduct of consistently stalking her and convince the court that he had a
passion aflame for Mattoo," he added.
"This judgment has alarmed us. I will soon discuss it with our friends about
what we should do in such a situation," Kaul said.
Aditya Raj Kaul
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