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An accused is awarded a death sentence by a Mumbai
Sessions Court for raping and killing the techie, under IPC Section
302 (murder), Section 376 (rape) and Section 201 (causing
An accused is awarded a death sentence by a Mumbai Sessions Court for raping and killing the techie, under IPC Section 302 (murder), Section 376 (rape) and Section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence); terming it as the rarest of rare cases. I am unable to understand the exact application of what the Rarest of Rare doctrine is and how it is applied each time. The doctrine Rarest of Rare was first articulated in 1980 in the Bachan Singh case.
In 2008, the Supreme Court judges, in the Prajeet Kumar Singh vs State of Bihar, had ruled exactly on what would a rarest of rare case constitute. Court said that a death sentence would be awarded only, when a murder is committed in an extremely brutal, grotesque, diabolical, revolting or dastardly manner so as to arouse intense and extreme indignation of the community. There is no statutory definition of what rarest of rare means but the controversy to this doctrine arises each time the Court awards death penalty and the debates go on and on.
death penalty Should Rarest Of Rare Doctrine Be Abolished?
There are a number of cases in which the crime is same but the punishment differs. There are judgments in which the accused has committed either rape or murder and has been awarded death penalty but also there are cases in which the accused has committed rape as well as murder but then also he has not been awarded death penalty. It is hard for me to find out what led to the variation in punishment in such cases. Is it the Crime or the Criminal or the Judge?
Bachan Singh considered all the circumstances relating both to the criminal and the crime, whereas Machhi Singh vs. State of Punjab focused only on the crime and not the criminal. What makes the Judge to decide whether the case falls within the rarest of rare case? Does the age of the victim could be a deciding factor to make such categorisation of sentence or not? Because in one case the Bombay High Court confirmed a double-life and double-death sentence for rape and murder of a 2 year old girl; whereas in Mohd. Chaman vs. State (NCT of Delhi), the Supreme Court commuted the death sentence for rape and murder of a 1 year and 6 months old girl to life sentence. Also there are different assumptions of this doctrine as to when the collective conscience of society is shocked; which differs from judge to judge.