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SC confirms death penalty awarded to man convicted of raping, killing physically, mentally challenged minor girl

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday confirmed the death penalty awarded to a man convicted of kidnapping, raping and killing a physically and mentally challenged seven-and-a-half-year-old girl, and noted that the crime was brutal and inhuman.

A bench of justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar confirmed the death penalty awarded to convict Manoj Pratap Singh and dismissed his appeal challenging Rajasthan High Court order.

The top court noted the fact that the innocent victim was kidnapped on a stolen motorcycle by misusing the trust gained by the offer of confectionary items and also, and she was brutally and inhumanly raped.

"Accordingly, these appeals are dismissed; conviction of the appellant of offences under Sections 363, 365, 376(2)(f), 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 are confirmed; and the sentences awarded to the appellant, including the death sentence for the offence under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, are also confirmed, " the top court said.

The top court noted the nature of the crime and called it extreme depravity, which shocks the conscience, particularly looking at the target (a seven-and-a-half-year-old mentally and physically challenged girl) and then, observed to the manner of committing murder, where the hapless victim's head was literally smashed, resulting in multiple injuries including a fracture of the frontal bone.

"In the present case, where all the elements surrounding the offence as also all the elements surrounding the offender cut across the balance sheet of aggravating and mitigating circumstances, we are clearly of the view that there is absolutely no reason to commute the sentence of death to any other sentence of lesser degree. Even the alternative of awarding the sentence of imprisonment for the whole of the natural life with no remission does not appear justified in view of the nature of crimes committed by the appellant and looking to his incorrigible conduct."

The top court noted the activities and actions of the convict before the present crime as he was found involved in at least four cases dealing with different offences ranging from Prevention of Damage to Public Property and also convicted in a separate case under the offence of murder of another jail inmate.

"A fortiori, there appears no probability of his reformation and rehabilitation. This possibility of the appellant relapsing in the same crime over again and nil probability of his reformation/rehabilitation is a direct challenge as also a danger to the maintenance of order in the society. Hence, the facts of the present case, taken as a whole, make it clear that it is unlikely that the appellant if given an absolution, would not be capable of and would not be inclined to commit such a crime again. Consequently, we find it to be a case of no other option but to confirm the death sentence awarded to the appellant, for that being inevitable in this particular case, " the top court said.

Manoj Pratap Singh has challenged the appeal challenging the Rajasthan High Court order dated May 29 2015. On May 29 2015, the High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan at Jodhpur affirmed the judgment of conviction dated 28.09.2013 and order of sentencing dated 01.10.2013 passed by the Court of Special Judge, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Cases, Rajsamand.

The High Court, while upholding the conviction of the appellant of offences punishable under Sections 363, 365, 376(2)(f), 302 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, has confirmed the death sentence awarded to him by the Trial Court for the offence under Section 302 IPC.

The appellant Manoj Pratap Singh has been accused of kidnapping a physically and mentally challenged seven-and-a-half-year-old girl in front of her parents from their fruit and vegetable vending cart; having thereafter taken her to a secluded place; having committed rape upon her, and having killed her by causing injuries on her head. (ANI)

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