The deceased, a 16-year-old girl, was raped in 2014 after the trio intercepted her when she was on her way back home from school.
Mumbai: The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court upheld the death penalty awarded to three men convicted for the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl from Ahmednagar district.
The court noted that the extreme perversity of the crime qualifies it as a rarest-of-the-rare case.
A division bench of Justices T.V. Nalawade and K.K. Sonawane was hearing the appeals filed by Santosh Vishnu Lonkar (36), Mangesh Dattatraya Lonkar (30) and Dattatraya Shankar Shinde (27), challenging the trial court verdict passed against them.
The trial court held them guilty under sections 302 (punishment for murder) and 376-A (punishment for rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The three accused were also convicted under sections 4 and 6 of the POCSO (Protection of Children against Sexual Offences) Act, which lays down punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault against the child.
However, no separate sentence was awarded for these offences. According to the prosecution, the deceased was raped several times on August 22, 2014, in Ahmednagar district after the trio intercepted her at a lonely place when she was on her way back home from school.
After raping the teenager, the accused murdered her using sharp weapons. Her body was found in a canal later that evening.
The police began an investigation after the First Information Report (FIR) was filed the same day. The high court examined the evidence on record and the testimony of witnesses.
The order read, “The circumstances established by the prosecution, if considered together, show that they complete the chain of circumstances to point a finger only against the accused persons as guilty persons.”
In order to confirm the death penalty awarded, the bench factored in the age of the victim, the age of the accused, lack of empathy on the part of the accused in committing the crime, and the element of pre-meditation in committing the heinous crime.
“Even when accused number 1 was a father of two and a married man and the other accused were elder persons, they committed such a heinous act against a girl aged about 16 years,” the order stated.
“The aforesaid circumstances show that it is a perversity of extreme nature. The conduct of the accused shows that there is no possibility of their reformation and they do not deserve to live in any society,” the Bench said.