HC commutes death sentence into lifer in rape, murder case

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, Sept 27: High Court has commuted the death sentence awarded by the trial court into life imprisonment in rape and murder of a woman with the direction to jail authority for processing the case of convictee for remission of sentence by the Executive Authority.
The division bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice M A Chowdhary on perusal of the sentencing order dated 04.12.2012, passed by the Principal District and Sessions Judge Leh, found that the convict was sentenced to capital punishment of death for the commission of murder punishable under Section 302 RPC. However, no sentence has been awarded for the conviction of rape punishable under Section 376 RPC, though the conviction was recorded for the commission of both offences.
The court in view of the inordinate delay in disposal of the case by the trial court and long incarceration spanning over two decades of the convictee- Sonam Dorjay, instead of remanding the case to trial court, deemed it proper to decide the same by the court and directed the convict to undergo eight years imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 5000 for the commission of offence punishable under Section 376 RPC.
“The impugned judgment of recording conviction of the appellant-accused for the commission of rape and murder, is maintained and upheld, however, the impugned order of sentence, is modified in terms of the order”, DB concluded.
The panel Counsel of J&K Legal Services Authority (LSA) who represents the appellant-convictee in the instant case court said, has rendered valuable and satisfactory assistance to this court for disposal of the appeal. She submitted that the appellant-convict, who has already undergone the sentence of more than 20 years, be ordered to be released having regard to the remission policy.
Court opined that the ends of justice would be met by altering the sentence from death to life imprisonment for the commission of offence punishable under Section 302 RPC. “Death sentence is, thus, ordered to be commuted to life imprisonment and fine of Rs.5000 under Section 302 RPC. In default of payment of fine, the appellant-convict shall undergo simple imprisonment for a period of two months”
“Since the power of granting remission is with the Executive, the Executive shall be well advised to consider the case of the appellant-convict for remission in terms of the remission policy as contained in the Ladakh Jail Manual”, DB said
Court in this view directed the Superintendent of Jail concerned to take note of the same and process the case of the appellant-convict expeditiously for consideration of remission by the concerned authorities.