Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Awarded death to six in 2009, SC acquits all in 2019

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In a first ever instance, the Supreme Court on Tuesday acquitted six people whom it had awarded death sentence 10 years ago in a 2003 case involving dacoity, gang rape of a woman and murder of five of a family in Nashik.
Apart from acquitting the accused, who were from a nomadic tribe and falsely implicated in the case by the police, a bench of Justices A K Sikri, S Abdul Nazeer and M R Shah ordered the Maharashtra government to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to each person within four weeks and identify officials who let the real culprits get away.
“All of them, who were between the ages of 25 and 30 years (and one of the accused was a juvenile), have lost valuable years of their life in jail.
“Their family members have also suffered. Therefore, in the facts and circumstances of the case, and in exercise of our powers under Article 142 of the Constitution, we direct the state of Maharashtra to pay a sum of Rs 5 lakh to each by way of compensation, within a period of four weeks,” the court said.

All accused were framed in case: SC

The prosecution had alleged that nine people in shorts and vests entered the house of a family and looted valuables, raped a woman and killed five.
A Nashik sessions court on June 12, 2006, awarded death penalty to six of those arrested, finding them guilty of the crimes.
On appeal, the Bombay high court upheld death sentence of three persons but commuted the sentence of three others to life imprisonment.
Those awarded death penalty moved the SC.
The state too appealed in the SC and sought restoration of death penalty on the three who were given life sentence. On April 30, 2009, the SC found all the six guilty of dacoity, gang-rape and murder and imposed death penalty on all the accused.
The three given life sentence by the high court filed a petition seeking review of the SC’s 2009 verdict.
The Supreme Court on October 31 last year decided to hear arguments of all the six convicts and on Tuesday reached a startling conclusion that all of them were innocent and were framed in the case.
Giving a fresh lease of life to the six who were on death row since 2006, the bench said, “It is to be noted that all the accused persons are from nomadic tribes coming from the lower strata of society and are very poor labourers. Therefore, in the facts and circumstances of the case, false implication cannot be ruled out since it is common occurrence that in serious offences, sometimes innocent persons are roped in.”

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