Review of Death Penalty XIX

Ravishankar v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (2019) 9 SCC 689 held that, “This Court has increasingly become cognizant of ‘residual doubt’ in many recent cases which effectively create a higher standard of proof over and above the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ standard used at the stage of conviction, as a safeguard against routine Capital Sentencing, keeping in mind the irreversibility of death”.

We do not find any merit in the argument that being young or having no criminal antecedents are mitigating circumstances. What is required to be examined is whether there is a possibility of rehabilitation and whether it is the rarest of the rare case where the collective conscience of the community is so shocked that it will expect the holders of judicial power to inflict Death Penalty irrespective of their personal opinion as regards desirability or otherwise of retaining Death Penalty.

The motive was to become rich by not doing hard work but by demanding ransom after kidnapping a young, innocent boy. We are of the considered view that the present case falls short of the ‘rarest of rare’ cases where a Death Sentence alone deserves to be awarded.

Life Imprisonment; 25 Years – No Remission.

Hon’ble Justice Hemant Gupta, Arvind Singh v. State of Maharashtra, [Criminal Appeal Nos. 640-641 of 2016].