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INDIA: HC COMMUTES DEATH PENALTY TO LIFE

April 29, 2024:

The Kerala High Court has modified the death sentence awarded to Narendra Kumar, a native of Uttar Pradesh and the sole accused in the Parampuzha triple murder case, to life imprisonment without remission for 20 years for the murder offence, Times of India reported on April 26, 2024.
Meanwhile, the bench of Justices A K Jayasankaran Nambiar and V M Syam Kumar upheld the conviction and the sentences for other offences such as robbery and housebreaking.
The bench pronounced its judgment in the criminal appeal filed by Kumar challenging the conviction and the sentences awarded by the district and sessions court, Kottayam, and in the death sentence review (DSR) petition.
The prosecution case was that Kumar killed Praveen Lal, the owner of Wash World Laundry at Parampuzha, Kottayam, and his parents Lalasan and Prasanna Kumari at midnight on May 16, 2015.
Kumar, who was an employee in the laundry, committed the triple murder by inflicting injuries on their heads and necks using an axe and a knife, respectively. He then committed the robbery of a gold chain and ear studs that were worn by the deceased Prasanna Kumari, the latter by cutting her ear lobes. Thereafter, he trespassed into the neighbouring house and committed the theft of gold ornaments.
The trial court sentenced him to death by hanging for the offence of murder and also sentenced him to undergo double imprisonment for life for the offences of robbery and housebreaking. It was also ordered to pay Rs 3 lakh to Bipin Lal, the brother of deceased Praveen Lal, as per the victim compensation scheme.
The division bench on appeal stated that the death sentence was reserved only for those cases that qualify as the “rarest of the rare”. While the facts and circumstances proved against the accused point to his involvement in a gruesome triple murder, the bench would not go so far as to categorize it as the “rarest of the rare” to impose the death sentence on him.
The court also felt that the imposition of stricter terms of life imprisonment would strike the right balance between the conflicting interests of the accused and the public at large and go a long way towards sustaining public confidence in our legal system. Hence the bench modified the death sentenceposed on him.

(Source: TNN, 26/04/2024)

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