In a shocking decision, the Supreme Court today commuted the death sentence awarded to one Mohd. Firoz for the rape and murder of a 4-year-old. He will now just serve 20 years for the crime, not even a full life sentence till the end of his natural life.
The case dates back to April 2013 and took place in Ghansore, district Seoni, MP. Firoz was sentenced to death in October of that same year by a trial court. The Madhya Pradesh High Court dismissed his appeal and confirmed the death sentence. But 9 long years later, justice has been denied to the victim and her family, as SC has commuted the death sentence to just 20 years – if time already served by him in prison is taken into account, he could be out in another 11 years. The child was brutally assaulted – two of her teeth were broken when Firoz smothered her with intent to kill after raping her.
The bench comprising Justices UU Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and Bela M. Trivedi observed that the maximum punishment prescribed ‘may not always be the determinative factor for repairing the crippled psyche of the offender’.
In appeal, the SC bench held that the prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Firoz had committed the crime. Yet, regarding the death sentence awarded for murder, the bench made the following observation:
“While affirming the view taken by the courts below with regard to the conviction of the appellant for the offences charged against him, deem it proper to commute, and accordingly commute the sentence of death for the sentence of imprisonment for life, for the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC.
“Since, Section 376A IPC is also applicable to the facts of the case, considering the gravity and seriousness of the offence, the sentence of imprisonment for the remainder of appellant’s natural life would have been an appropriate sentence, however, we are reminded of what Oscar Wilde has said – “The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future”.
“One of the basic principles of restorative justice as developed by this Court over the years, also is to give an opportunity to the offender to repair the damage caused, and to become a socially useful individual, when he is released from the jail. The maximum punishment prescribed may not always be the determinative factor for repairing the crippled psyche of the offender.
“Hence, while balancing the scales of retributive justice and restorative justice, we deem it appropriate to impose upon the appellant-accused, the sentence of imprisonment for a period of twenty years instead of imprisonment for the remainder of his natural life for the offence under section 376A, IPC. The conviction and sentence recorded by the courts below for the other offences under IPC and POCSO Act are affirmed. It is needless to say that all the punishments imposed shall run concurrently.”
So, a man who raped and murdered a 4-year-old will walk free after serving just 20 years in prison! Whether Oscar Wilde had the rape and murder of a minor child in mind when he was talking of ‘sins’, is another matter altogether. And how does a figure from English literature make its way into deciding the punishment for a criminal in Bharat? Are Bharat’s judges English literature critics and philosophers, or is their job to apply Indian law? Are we going to give a ‘second chance’ to any and all ‘sinners’ going forward? Are we saying that the rape and murder of an innocent 4-year-old is so commonplace nowadays that it doesn’t merit the death penalty.
Our colonised and hijacked judiciary, which operates as a self-serving and self-appointing cabal under the Collegium System has now become a clear impediment to the progress of the nation and to the rule of law itself. Here are some reactions from netizens:
Someone who rapes and murders a four year old child should have no future and no right to live for even a day. This is just disgusting. Not only has death sentence been commuted, even life imprisonment has been reduced to 20 years jail. https://t.co/lUqiU0qDrr— Amit Thadhani (@amitsurg) April 20, 2022