‘Death penalty without appeal not possible in Indian democracy’: Senior lawyers

Legal system is proper, but needs effective functioning of prosecuting agencies for a speedy trial to punish real culprits, say senior lawyers.

Published: 03rd December 2019 11:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd December 2019 11:04 AM   |  A+A-

Private school students take out a rally at Suryapeta on Monday protesting against Hyd vet rape and murder case.

Private school students take out a rally at Suryapeta on Monday protesting against Hyd vet rape and murder case.

Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  In the light of the growing public demand to impose capital punishment against the four accused in the recent rape and murder of veterinarian in the city,  senior lawyers were of the view that the demand for death penalty in such cases without giving scope for appeal in the higher courts, is not possible in a democratic country like India.

They said that the High Court has recently reduced the capital punishment to that of life sentence with an intention to bring reform in the culprits.

The Telangana High Court, recently, while upholding the conviction awarded by a special POCSO court in Warangal in the rape and murder of a nine-month-old child in June this year, has commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment with the rider that the appellant-convict (Polepaka Praveen alias Pawan) shall not be granted any remission, and shall not be released till his last breath.

“Admittedly Praveen is a young man, only 25-years old; undoubtedly, he belongs to a backward caste, is illiterate, working as a coolie, is poor and he has never committed any grievous crime. The only crime he has ever committed was to attempt to commit theft. Hence, the prosecution has not produced any evidence to show that the appellant is beyond reformation. Moreover, by imposing the death penalty, the society and the State admit that they are incapable of reforming the accused.

Former minister DK Aruna speaks at a round table conference on ‘Telangana Nirbhaya’ held under the aegis of Telangana BJP Mahila Morcha at Press Club in Hyderabad on Monday. (Photo |  Sathya Keerthi)

But a young life has to be given a chance to reform himself/herself.

The State and society must try to reform an accused. While sentencing the appellant a via-media has to be found to reform the appellant, but to protect the society from him”, the court observed while reducing the sentence.

The High Court found that the prosecution has succeeded in establishing a complete chain of circumstances which unerringly point to the guilt of the accused, and has submitted sufficient oral and documentary evidence to conclude its case against the appellant.

As for the incident, it was not a pre-planned murder.

Besides, the Court said that the case does not fall within the extreme category of “rarest of the rare”.

The trial court is unjustified in concluding that the appellant did not show any remorse. As for imposing capital punishment, the bench opined that both the society and the state admit their failure in reforming the offender.

In fact, there is no evidence to show that the appellant had entered the house of the complainant with the sole object of killing the child, the High Court opined.

Referring to the Supreme Court judgment in Bachan Singh case, the High Court said that the apex court had clearly opined that before the death penalty can be imposed upon an alleged offender, the courts must consider the circumstances of the crime, and of the criminal. 

“Hence, while selecting the punishment, the other options available between life imprisonment and death sentence, should also be considered by the court. The endeavour of the society, and the State should be to recondition the psychology of an accused, and to make him a productive member of the society at large,’’ the Court observed.

Amendments to IPC & CrPC
When asked about amending IPC and CrPC as urged by KTR, senior advocates  A Sudarshan Reddy, K Ramakrishna Reddy, senior counsels A Satya Prasad and S Satyam Reddy opined that even if an amendment is made to IPC and CrPC for the purpose, it will be challenged before the appellate courts as the above demand is against principles of natural justice and violation of fundamental rights.

They said that the existing legal system is proper, but needs effective functioning of the prosecuting agencies for a speedy trial to punish the real culprits

Hearing on custody petition of 4 accused in Disha murder case today
A Shadnagar court on Monday admitted the custody petition filed by police seeking custody of the four accused in Disha’s case.

The hearing on the petition was posted to Tuesday. As public prosecutor was not available to present the case and all advocates deciding to abstain from arguing on behalf of the accused, the court adjourned the hearing.

The police filed the petition seeking custody for 10 days. Police informed the court that due to volatile law and order situation at Shadnagar police station before the accused were produced in court, the investigation could not be completed. The petition said that the accused has to be interrogated and that the victim’s missing mobile phone is yet to be recovered and hence, the request for police custody

Disha’s father immerses her ashes in Krishna

Jogulamba Gadwal: A week after Disha was brutally raped and murdered by four people, her father, Ramesh Reddy while immersing her ashes in the Krishna river said that he had never thought that he would be separated from his daughter so early. He broke down and said that he had planned to visit the temple along with her

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