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Death Penalty India

Death Penalty India

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Published by Shivam Vij

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Published by: Shivam Vij on Apr 15, 2013
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LethalLottery: TheDeathPenalty inIndia 119

Indira Gandhi, theCourts viewed thefactthatthekillings were
committed by a mob as a mitigating factorratherthananaggravating
factor. Thusin Kishori v. Stateof Delhi (AIR 1999 SC 382), theSupreme
Courtcommuted thesentenceof oneaccused whohad beensentenced
todeathby a trialcourtwhichnoted thatthis was his seventhconviction
fora murdercommitted during theriots. TheSupremeCourthowever
argued thatof thesevenconvictions, theaccused was acquitted infour
by theHighCourtand theothertwowerealsobeforetheSupreme
Courtonappealand furtherthatsinceallwerealleged tohavetaken
placeonthesamenight, hecould notbesaid tobea “hard boiled
criminal.” TheCourtfurtherstated, “Wemay noticethattheacts
attributed tothemob of whichtheappellantwas a memberatthe
relevanttimecannotbestated tobea resultof any organised systematic
activity leading togenocide” and thereforecommuted thesentence. The
SupremeCourtalsocommuted thesentenceina second caseonappeal
beforeitinKishori v. Stateof Delhi.Inthis judgmenttheBenchrelied on
theprevious Kishorijudgmentand commuted this sentencearguing
thatthecircumstances werethesame, ignoring thefactthata key reason
forcommuting thesentenceintheprevious case(1998) had beenthatthe
convictionintheothercases was notfinal. InManoharLal aliasManu and
anr. v. State
(NCT) of Delhi[(2000) 2 SCC 92], theSupremeCourtalso
relied onKishori v. Stateof Delhi as a precedentincommuting the
sentence. Further, ignoring evidencethattheattacks onSikhs had been
planned and orchestrated, theCourtargued thatwhilethekillings were
mostgruesome, theaccused wereberserk and “ona rampage, unguided
by senseorreasonand triggered by a demented psyche.”

TheSupremeCourtwas alsolenientwithpoliticalparties inApren Joseph
Kunjukunju and ors. v. theStateof Kerala(AIR 1973 SC 1)
whereeventhoughfivepersons werekilled, theCourtcommuted the
sentencearguing thattheaccused in“excessivezealfortheirparty …
feltunduly provoked by thesuccess of themeeting organised by the
Karshak Sangham and being misguided by politicalintoleranceand cult
of violencethey committed theoffences inquestionsoonafterthesaid
meeting.” TheSupremeCourtinthis caseappears tohavefound attacks

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