Written by Dakshita
The Supreme Court in the recent case of Irappa Sidappa Murgannavar observed that the low age of the rape victim is not considered as the only or sufficient factor for imposing a death sentence.
The bench comprising of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Sanjiv Khanna and BR Gavai observed thus while commuting death sentence awarded to Irappa Siddappa Murgannavar who was found to be guilty of the offence of rape and murder of a five year old girl. The death was caused by strangulation, after which the convict put the body in a gunny bag and threw her in a nearby stream.
The “rarest of the rare cases” doctrine which was evolved in the case of Bachan Singh, was applied in the present case by the prosecution. The prosecution’s argument for establishing so was that, the accused, under the pretext of giving biscuits, committed rape and murder of a five-year old girl, and threw her dead body into the stream.
The Supreme Court, after doing a thorough study into the precedents that had been set by the Court noted that though his act was heinous and required condemnation, but it was not rarest of the rare, so as to require his elimination from the society. The same was supported by a total of 67 judgements.
However, the bench only partly allowed the appeal, as they only commuted the death sentence, but still awarded life imprisonment with the stipulation that the accused shall not be entitled to premature release/remission before undergoing actual imprisonment of 30 years.