Two months after a youth hailing from Bihar was awarded death penalty for raping and murdering a minor, the Bombay High Court will begin next week hearing of the confirmation of the sentence given by the lower court.
Raju Jagdish Paswan, 22, was convicted last year for murdering and raping a nine-year-old girl in June 2010 in Sangli district of Maharashtra.
Last November, the sessions court had termed the case as falling under the rarest of rare category and awarded him the death penalty.
A division bench of justices N H Patil and A R Joshi today directed Paswan, who is lodged in Yerwada jail, to be produced before it on January 14. The court will also ask Paswan if he wants to appoint any lawyer to fight his case or if the court should appoint a counsel for him.
The incident dates back to June 21, 2010, when the victim had gone missing from her house in Bedag village of Sangli district, after which the victim's father, a farm labourer, lodged a missing complaint.
During investigation, the police learnt that the victim was last seen with the accused who used to live in the neighbouring house.
According to the prosecution, the accused revealed after interrogation that he had raped the minor girl, murdered her and then dumped her body in a well.
While awarding Paswan the death penalty, the lower court had observed that the accused had committed a heinous crime of raping an innocent child and that it was a "cold blooded murder".
"After satisfying his lust, the accused threw the girl into the well. An innocent girl was ravished by the accused for his lust. The accused is a menace to society and there are no chances of reform. He does not deserve any leniency," the sessions court had observed.
"When such cases are rampant, a message should be given to society that such heinous crimes will result in extreme punishment," the court had said.
It had also observed that women and girls should have the liberty to move about freely.