Minor's rape, murder: SC commutes death penalty to 30-yrs jail

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SC commutes death penalty to 30-yrs jail
New Delhi, May 14: The Supreme Court has commuted the death penalty of a man, convicted for raping and killing a 9-year-old girl in 2009, to a jail term for 30 years without any benefit of remission.

"Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, the death sentence awarded by the courts below require to be converted into life imprisonment but taking note of the diabolic manner in which the offence had been committed against a child, it is desirable that the convict should serve minimum sentence of 30 years in jail, without remission," a bench of justices B S Chauhan, J Chelameswar and M Y Eqbal said.

The verdict came in the appeal filed by convict Selvam against the Madras High Court order upholding award of the death sentence by the trial court in the case. Terming the case as the "rarest of rare", the trial court had on March 12, 2010 had awarded capital punishment to him.

It had said the root cause for the perpetrator of the heinous crime was his thirst for lust, his loneliness in his house and the fact that the parents of the victim, a class IV standard student, had gone for pilgrimage and would take days to return. It had said under the circumstances which were so conducive for him, the man, a sex hunter, on the fateful day took the girl to his house where nobody was available, raped the girl to fulfill his thirst for sex.

After his desire was over fear crept in his mind and he killed the girl by hitting her head with a cotframe with an intention to kill her, it had said. The trial court, after weighing the mitigating and aggravating circumstances, had come to the conclusion that the act of Selvam was a "violent, barbaric and sinful sexual attack on the child" and hence, deserved the ultimate penalty.

The high court, while deciding the death reference of state and the appeal of the convict, upheld the lower court verdict and said the prosecution had been successful in proving the case.

The girl had left for her school in the morning of February 12, 2009 and did not return. Her parents, who had gone to a pilgrimage leaving her behind with her grandfather, lodged an FIR. Later, Selvam had confessed.

PTI

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