CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court has ruled that in cases based on circumstantial evidence, death sentence should be awarded only when the prosecution has established its case by evidence of such sterling quality that the court is absolutely clear about the guilt.
The evidence of higher standard than the normal ‘beyond reasonable doubt principle’, is applied to criminal cases, the division bench of Justice SK Mishra and Justice Savitri Ratho ruled, adding, “We are of the opinion that death sentence has a unique aspect. It is irrevocable.”
The bench gave the ruling recently while reducing to life term, the death sentence awarded to Sunil Nayak by a special Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court for raping and murdering a three-year-old girl. The gruesome incident occurred within Champua police limits on January 13, 2017.
After picking up the victim (a cousin) from her home, Sunil raped and killed her at a secluded spot.
The Additional Sessions Judge-Cum-Special Judge, Keonjhar had sentenced Sunil to death on December 19, 2019. The death sentence was sent to the High Court for confirmation. Sunil had also filed a jail criminal appeal challenging the capital punishment. The bench opined that it is not a fit case to award death sentence mainly because the investigating agency did not carry out DNA profiling.