The Supreme Court has commuted the death sentence of a man, convicted of raping and killing a nine-year-old girl, and sentenced him to a minimum of 30 years imprisonment without remission.
"We do not find any cogent reason to interfere so far as the findings of guilt recorded by the courts. However, considering the facts and circumstances of the case, the death sentence awarded by the courts require to be converted into life imprisonment," said the apex court bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan, Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice M.Y. Eqbal in a recent judgment.
After raping the girl, the convict Selvam hit the girl's head on the frame of a cot that resulted in her bleeding to death due to head injury.
Justice Chauhan said that "taking note of the diabolic manner in which the offence was committed against a child", the convict should serve a minimum sentence of 30 years in jail without remission, "though subject to exercise of constitutional power for clemency".
The girl's parents had gone on a pilgrimage to Palani Hills in Tamil Nadu. After they left, their daughter went to school Feb 12, 2009, but did not return.
On being informed that their daughter was missing, the parents returned Feb 13, 2009, and reported the matter to police.
On the same day, Selvam appeared before village administrative officer Vijayan and confessed about the rape and murder. Vijayan took him to police where Selvam confessed.
He was charged with murder, rape, theft and causing disappearance of evidence.
The trial court, while sentencing him to death March 12, 2010, had said the act was "violent, barbaric and sinful sexual attack on the child".
It said the root cause of the crime was the perpetrator's "thirst for lust, his loneliness in his house" and the fact that the parents of the deceased girl had gone on pilgrimage and would take many days to return.
The death sentence was confirmed by the Madras High Court Sep 21, 2010.