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INDIA: DELHI HIGH COURT COMMUTES DEATH SENTENCE OF MAN CONVICTED FOR KIDNAPPING, MURDER OF 12-YEAR-OLD NEIGHBOUR

June 27, 2023:

The Delhi High Court on June 26, 2023 commuted the death sentence awarded earlier to a man convicted of kidnapping and murdering a 12-year-old child in the year 2009.
A division bench of Justices Mukta Gupta and Anish Dayal modified the trial court order that had sentenced him to death.
The bench held that the convict, Jeevak Nagpal, would have to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life with no remission till 20 years.
The Court commuted the death sentence on the ground that the case did not fall in the category of the ‘rarest of rare cases’. The reformation of the convict was still possible in this case, the Court opined.
“It is not a case where reformation of the appellant is not possible and accordingly, this Court is of the considered view that sentence of imprisonment of life with no remission till 20 years would be the appropriate sentence. The sentence of the appellant is thus modified to rigorous imprisonment for life with no remission till 20 years and to pay a fine of ₹1 lakh, in default whereof, to undergo simple imprisonment for six months for offence punishable under Section 302 IPC,” the Court ordered.
The High Court was dealing with a reference seeking the confirmation of the death sentence awarded to Nagpal by a trial court. It was also adjudicating on an appeal filed by the convict challenging his conviction and sentence.
Nagpal was convicted for kidnapping and murdering his 12-year-old neighbour. It was stated that Nagpal kidnapped the child on March 18, 2009, and sent messages to the child’s father demanding ransom.
The Court was told that he eventually murdered the child using the jack handle of his car and by smothering. The body of the deceased child was then thrown in a dry drain. Nagpal was barely 21 years of age at the time of the murder.
After considering the case, the Court rejected Nagpal’s appeal against his conviction.
While deciding on the reference, the Court said that the evidence on record would suggest that the murder was not pre-planned as Nagpal was not armed with any weapon.
“Though causing death of someone in itself is perversity, however causing death by smothering and inflicting injuries by jack handle though opined to be consistent with intense torture, cannot be held to be a diabolic or seriously perverse manner of committing murder so as to shock the collective conscience of the society and fall in the category of rarest of rare cases," the judgment stated.
The Court, therefore, modified the sentence imposed on Nagpal for the offence of murder. However, it said that the sentences awarded for offences punishable under Sections 364A, 201 and 506 IPC are not modified and will remain the same.
Advocates Bharat Dubey, Shubhlaxmi Dubey, Sonia Dubey and Tanya Kapoor appeared for Jeevak Nagpal.
Additional Public Prosecutor (APP) Prithu Garg appeared for the State.
Advocates Prashant Diwan, Kushika Chachhra and Mayank Verma appeared for the complainant.

(Source: Bar and bench, 26/06/2023)

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