Commuted Death Sentence to Life Imprisonment: Legal Analysis

The present criminal appeals arise out of the common Judgment & Order dated 13 December 2021 passed by the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court in Confirmation Case No 1 of 2019 and Criminal Appeal Nos. 808 and 810 of 2019 whereby the High Court confirmed the death penalty and life imprisonment imposed upon the Accused No 1-Digambar (Appellant in Criminal Appeal Nos.

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Thus, on 22 July 2017 itself, he called Govind on his mobile whereupon Govind informed him that Pooja was not with him and he can do whatever he wants. Near Village Beltaroda, the Accused Digambar asked Pooja and Govind to wait for some time. At that time the Accused Digambar took out the sickle and assaulted on Govind’s throat.

810/2019 and the Accused Mohan had filed Criminal Appeal No 808/2019 before the High Court.

Vide the impugned judgment, the High Court confirmed the death sentence imposed upon the Accused Digambar and dismissed the Criminal Appeals. Learned counsel submits that only on the basis of the evidence of last seen together, without there being any corroboration, the conviction could not have been recorded by the Trial Court.

Learned counsel submits that applying both the crime and the criminal tests, interference with the capital punishment would not be warranted. He stated in his evidence that on 22 July 2017 at about 6.00 a.m., Govind told him that Pooja called him on mobile phone.

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P.W.5-Shankar further stated that Digambar told him that he was aware that Pooja and Govind had a love affair since the last 5 years and, therefore, their marriage would be performed.

He further stated that, at that time, his brother-in-law Santosh received phone call from Bhokar Police Station on his mobile, who informed him that his brother Govind and Pooja were killed in between village Divshi to village Nigva. P.W.7-Sudam Kishanrao Thakre was a Police Head Constable, who was attached to the Bhokar Police Station at the relevant time. He went there and saw that one girl was injured and when he inquired her about the boy, then she pointed her finger towards the river.

As such, the burden to show as to what happened after leaving the house would shift on the accused in view of Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act.

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In the said case, though this Court found that the same would fall within the ‘rarest of the rare’ case, it commuted the capital sentence to the one to rigorous imprisonment for life and fine of Rs.25,000/- each. Though this Court held that the crime was heinous and brutal, but it could not be considered to be ‘rarest of rare’ case.


Case Number: Crl.A. No.-000221-000222 / 2022

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