The Supreme Court today stayed the execution of death penalty of a 48-year-old man whose conviction has been upheld by the Rajasthan High Court for for abducting, raping and killing his four-year-old neighbour in Sriganganagar in 2012.
Besides the convict, his juvenile son also allegedly took part in the offence of rape and murder of the minor.
Issuing notice the Rajasthan government, a bench of justices JS Kehar and C Nagappan said, "The execution of death penalty shall remain stayed."
Earlier, the apex court had agreed to hear the appeal of the condemned prisoner Kalu Khan during the vacation period. Khan has moved the apex court against the April 4 verdict of the high court by which his appeal against the conviction and award of death penalty was dismissed. The high court had allowed the state's reference and confirmed the death penalty in the case. The girl, whose parents had gone out, was lured by the convict on the promise of giving her some berries on the morning of May 3, 2012, the prosecution had said. Khan and his minor son raped the victim and later, as her condition worsened, they killed her before burying her in a pit in their courtyard, it had said.
Some witnesses had said that during the search, they found the juvenile burying something in a pit and on being confronted, he panicked and that led to the recovery of victim's body.
In the appeal, filed through lawyer Asha Jain Madan, the convict said that the courts below have failed to "appreciate that the entire prosecution case rests solely on circumstantial evidence which is wholly insufficient to base the conviction of the petitioner and that too for award of capital sentence".
It submitted that the prosecution's story is "totally improbable" as the convict and his minor son could not have done the "sinful" act together. It also said that the petitioner, who has a clean past, should not be awarded capital sentence at the age of 48 years as there was "all possibility of (his) reformation".