Shakti Mills Gang-Rape Case: High court quashes death sentence for gang-rape convicts
The Bombay High Court has quashed the death sentence of a convict in a case of gang-rape of a journalist and a girl. The Bombay High Court ruled that the verdict should not be based on public sentiment. The High Court has quashed the death sentence of three accused in the Shakti Mills gang-rape case.
The case relates to the rape of a photojournalist in 2013 at Shakti Mill in Mumbai. In July of the same year, the accused raped another girl. Considering this, the trial court sentenced him to death. The Bombay High Court reduced the sentence to life imprisonment without even getting parole for the accused.
The High Court said it was aware of the fact that the Shakti Mills gang-rape case had shocked the community. Such a heinous act affects the body and mind. But it is not possible to pass judgment in such cases on the basis of public sentiment. The death penalty should rarely be imposed. The Bombay High Court ruled that such a sentence was irreversible.
The accused gang-raped the photojournalist on August 22, 2013 at the crumbling Shakti Mills in Maharashtra. The convicts were sentenced to death by a sessions court in March 2014. The accused in the case are 18-year-old Vijay Mohan Yadav, Mohammad Qasim Sheikh Bengali (20) and Mohammad Salim Ansari (27). In July 2013, the accused gang-raped another girl, a telephone operator, at the same place.
In both cases the trial was held in parallel. Judgments were handed down in both cases on the same day. The prosecution then asked the trial court to give them the maximum punishment as the offenders had committed two crimes. Shalini Fansalkar Joshi, the then Principal Judge of the Sessions Court, upheld the prosecution’s verdict and sentenced the accused to death.
The appeal was filed last month by a two-judge division bench of the Bombay High Court. He was charged under Section 376E in a case of gang rape of a girl. The court ruled that the defendants were permanent offenders under this section. However, the respondent contended that the case could be registered under this section only after the convicts have been convicted of one offense and are facing trial again and again. The trial court sentenced the accused to death on the basis of this section. However, the High Court upheld the defendant’s argument and sentenced him to life imprisonment without parole for the rest of his life.
Pic Courtesy: google/ images are subject to copyright