HC commutes death to life for man who killed underage girl

Observing that the accused, ‘a 20-year-old boy suddenly thought it was revenge for the humiliation but was not overwhelmed by lust’, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday commuted to life imprisonment the death sentence of a man, originally convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing a four-year-old girl in Bhiwandi. The HC, however, found there was no evidence to convict the man on rape charges and therefore acquitted him of the offence, but upheld a life sentence for charges of kidnapping and murder.

A bench of judges Sadhana Jadhav and Prithviraj Chavan was hearing a plea filed by Mohammad Aabed Mohammad Ajmir Shaikh, 23, challenging the death sentence imposed on him by a special court.

In April 2018, Aabed, who had been humiliated by the victim’s father for not paying money a few years ago, picked up the girl and he took her to a secluded place nearby and strangled her. and threw his body into thorn bushes.

This relieved the “out-of-court confession” Aabed made to his roommate, in which he specifically said, “he made a huge mistake and killed the girl by strangling her neck”.

The bench led by Judge Jadhav noted that the prosecution had provided no evidence on the record showing that the underage girl had been sexually abused. The bench relied on the medical evidence as well as the chemical analysis (CA) report which also ruled out sexual assault.

“For parents, the loss of a child is not just the loss of someone they loved, but it is a psychological loss for the parents because their dreams for the child come to an end. It creates a empty from within,” observed the bench. .

Additionally, the bench said that since the girl was not raped and he only strangled her and did not throw a rock at her head causing a fatal injury, the case falls outside the scope of the case. “rarest of the rare” category which is a death sentence confirmation warrant.

“It must be considered that Aabed never had a safe and loving atmosphere in his home. Due to economic hardship, he had started working at the age of 18 to earn a living,” the bench said. , adding: “But at the same time, his act committed is brutal and does not deserve any leniency.”

“Although the offense is barbaric and heinous, the state has provided no evidence on the record that there is no room for its reform or rehabilitation,” the judges noted, further adding that ‘”He is not a hardened criminal and therefore there is every hope that he can be reformed, rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.”

“The accused is a young man. The satisfaction of a personal vendetta had momentarily overwhelmed him and in that moment of deprivation of self-control he had committed the offence,” the bench considered.

“What must be appreciated is his first statement in front of his roommate who is to the extent that he had committed a serious blunder which in his own words – mujhse bahut badi galti huwi hai’ – this expression alone would demonstrate the remorse he was past,” added the bench.

“It is true that a small child was victimized and the object of Aabed’s hostile and diabolical act, said act cannot be pardoned by considering only the age of the accused,” said the bench.

Accordingly, he acquitted Aabed of the rape charges but upheld his conviction for murder and kidnapping.

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Posted: Wednesday February 9th 2022, 06:00 IST

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