Low Age Of Rape Victim Is Not Considered As The Only Or Sufficient Factor To Impose Death Sentence: Supreme Court

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Low Age Of Rape Victim Is Not Considered As The Only Or Sufficient Factor To Impose Death Sentence

Case: Irappa Siddappa Murgannavar vs State of Karnataka

Coram: Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Sanjiv Khanna and BR Gavai

Case: CrA . 1473-1474 OF 2017

Court Observation: “It appears from the above data that low age of the victim has not been considered as the only or sufficient factor by this Court for imposing a death sentence. If it were the case, then all, or almost all, 67 cases would have culminated in imposition of sentence of death on the accused.”

“The appellant had no criminal antecedents, nor was any evidence presented to prove that the commission of the offence was preplanned.”

“There is no material shown by the State to indicate that the appellant cannot be reformed and is a continuing threat to the society. On the contrary, it can be seen from the Death Sentence Prisoner Nominal Roll dated 17th July 2017 issued by the Chief Superintendent, Central Prison, Belgaum, that the conduct of the appellant in jail has been ‘satisfactory’. We would consider the appellant’s conduct in prison as expiation for his past deeds, also reflecting his desire to reform and take a humane turn.”

“Furthermore, the young age of the appellant at the time of commission of the offence (23 / 25 years), his weak socioeconomic background, absence of any criminal antecedents, non pre-meditated nature of the crime, and the fact that he has spent nearly 10 years 10 months in prison have weighed with us as other extenuating factors, which add up against imposition of death penalty which is to be inflicted only in rarest of the rare cases.” “The State has not shown anything to prove the likelihood that the appellant would commit acts of violence as a continuing threat to society; per contra, his conduct in the prison has been described as satisfactory.”

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Low Age, Rape Victim, Sufficient Factor, Death Sentence