New Delhi: While many courts in Canada often bend over backwards to give a way out to even the most heinous criminals, leaving victims bewildered, other jurisdictions view horrible crimes as fit for the harshest punishments. A court here Wednesday awarded death penalty to three men convicted in the rape-murder of a 19-year-old woman in 2012, observing that the crime committed by them “shakes the conscience of society” and falls under the “rarest of the rare” category.
The court Feb 13 convicted Ravi Kumar, Rahul and Vinod on various charges dealing with kidnapping, rape, murder and destruction of evidence.
Awarding death sentence to the three men, Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat observed that the case falls under the “rarest of rare” category. He also slapped a fine of Rs.1.60 lakh on each of them.
“The convicts shall be hanged till death,” the judge said, noting that the convicts were involved in two distinct heinous offence calling for the capital punishment. The three convicts, present in the court when the judge read out the sentence, did not show any reaction.
The victim’s family was also present during the hearing. Some of them even clapped loudly in the packed courtroom, but were pulled up by the judge.
The victim’s father said: “The guilty got the right punishment for their barbaric act. It will send a strong message to the society.”
The three convicts on Feb 9, 2012, kidnapped the victim while she was returning to her Qutub Vihar house in south Delhi from office. After four days, the woman’s body was found in in neighbouring Haryana. Her body bore multiple injuries on head and other parts.
Police said Ravi Kumar committed the crime with the help of the two – all residents of the same neighbourhood – as he was outraged over the woman’s refusal to befriend him. The three were arrested Feb 13, 2012.
Police said the three men used a car jack and an earthen pot to kill the woman.
Terming that crime committed by the offender as “ghastly, brutal and grotesque” in nature, the court said the “extreme sense of brutality and depravity” the accused showed towards the victim would be viewed with “abhorrence and indignation” by the society.
“The crime committed by the convicts undoubtedly falls in that class which shake the conscience of society and call for harshest punishment,” the court said.
“The perpetrators of crimes like rape and murder forfeit their right to live. The life imprisonment is highly inadequate in these cases and there is no alternative but to impose death sentence,” the court said.
Observing that in the recent past, society has seen a steep increase in the incidents of sexual assault on woman, particularly minor girls, the court said the time has come when the courts should deal with such heinous crime sternly in order to send a strong message to the society.
Describing it as an “obnoxious act of the highest order”, the court said that the victim was hardly in a position to resist the sinister acts of the convicts.
In his verdict, the judge also said that crimes like rape and murder has have greater impact upon the social order and said “public interest cannot be lost sight of and hence these offences per se require exemplary treatment”.
“If any benefit is sought to be given to the convicts on this score, it would amount to acknowledging that killing a girl after raping her is not a serious crime,” it said, adding “this would encourage the rapists to kill their victims in order to escape being caught or identified having the belief in their minds that law is on their side and they are not going to be hanged”.
“Given the increase in cases of rape and murder throughout the country, I feel that the time has come when the killing of victim by the rapist after rape, even if it is aimed only to avoid identification should be viewed very seriously and the perpetrators should not be spared of the gallows,” the court said.
The court rejected the convicts’ plea seeking leniency.
The defence argued that the the convict Vinod was 19 years old, while the other accused, Ravi, was 22 years at the time of the crime and third accused, Rahul, was 24 years old.
The defence requested the court to give them a chance to reform. But the court did not relent.