High Court of Judicature at Bombay, Nagpur Bench commuted death sentence of two men who were held guilty by the Sessions Court in the Bhandara robbery and murder case wherein, a woman was murdered and her minor son was injured. The commutation was done in light of the factum that there was a lack of evidence and in view of their socio-economic status. The accused were awarded a sentence of life imprisonment.
The said case was that of an appeal and a criminal confirmation dealt with the Division Bench comprising of Justices P N Deshmukh and Pushpa Ganediwala who refused to confirm the death penalty as pleaded by the State and partly allowed the appeal of one Amir Ajaj Shaikh, 22 and Sachin Kundlik Raut, 22 charged and held guilty for offences punishable under Section 302, 307, 397, 452, and 460 read with 34 of Indian Penal Code. The Sessions Court had also directed that they are hanged by the neck till they are dead as contemplated under Section 354(5) of Code of Criminal Procedure.
The appellants committed trespass and robbed the house of one Dayaji Bariya and killed his wife by bludgeoning her head with a hammer in the process and attempted to kill their 8-year-old son as well. White metal ornaments, hammer and cash worth Rs. 1.73 lakh were seized from one of the convicts.
The Court, in this case, took notice of the doctrine of “rarest of rarest” case and observed,
“the present case is not the rarest of rare case awarding death penalty and considering the socioeconomic circumstances under which the present appellants were brought-up, they deserve life imprisonment instead of death. They are neither hardened criminals, nor is it impossible to reform them. Both are of young age, who have just came out of their minority. With a temptation to earn easy money, they adopted this way, however, they failed before they could enjoy the fruits of their act. The whole case is based on circumstantial evidence. There is no evidence as to which of the appellants inflicted blows with hammer.”