The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the death penalty imposed on Sunder a.k.a. Sundararajan, who had kidnapped Suresh (7) - at Karkudal in Vridhachalam taluk of Cuddalore district – for ransom and later killed him in 2009.
A bench comprising justices P Sathasivam and Jagdish Singh Kehar, in a 35-page judgment, said that appellant Sunder has been found guilty of the offence under Section 364 A of the Indian Penal Code (kidnap for ransom, etc).
Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Kehar said, a perusal of the provision leaves no room for any doubt that the offence of kidnapping for ransom accompanied by a threat to cause death contemplates punishment with death. “Insofar as the present case is concerned, there is no doubt that the accused-appellant has been found to have kidnapped Suresh for ransom and has also actually committed his murder. In the instant situation therefore, the guilt of the accused-appellant (under Section 364A) must be considered to be of the gravest nature, justifying the harshest punishment prescribed for the offence.”
The accused-appellant has also been found guilty of the offence of murder under Section 302 (murder). It is, therefore apparent that the accused-appellant is guilty of two heinous offences, which independently of one another provide for death penalty, Justice Kehar added.
The facts and circumstances of the case do not depict any previous enmity between the parties. There is no grave and sudden provocation that compelled the accused to take the life of an innocent child. The murder of a child in such circumstances makes this a case of extreme culpability, Justice Kehar stated.
Kidnapping of a child was committed with the motive of carrying home a ransom. On account of the non-payment of ransom, the minor was murdered. This shows that the accused had no value for human life his “extreme mental perversion not worthy of human condonation”, Justice Kehar observed.
The parents of the deceased had four children – three daughters and one son. Kidnapping the only male child was to induce maximum fear in the mind of his parents. “Purposefully killing the sole male child has grave repercussions for the parents of the deceased’’, the Judge pointed out.