High Court of Karnataka confirmed Death Sentence for Irappa Siddappa Murgannavar.
Shanti Devi v. State of Rajasthan, (2012) 12 SCC 158 had considered, factum of recovery of body at instance of accused is a strong circumstance for conviction. Similar is Ranjit Kumar Haldar v. State of Sikkim, (2019) 7 SCC 684. On an overall view of evidence and witness statements, chain of circumstances affirmatively establishes guilt. The five-fold test prescribed in Sharad Birdhichand Sarda v. State of Maharashtra, (1984) 4 SCC 116 is satisfied.
Trial Court imposed Death Sentence on same day as conviction. Shatrughna Baban Meshram v. State of Maharashtra, (2021) 1 SCC 596 observed, merely on account of infraction of Section 235(2) of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 Death Sentence ought not to be commuted to Life Imprisonment. But in light of Dagdu v. State of Maharashtra, (1977) 3 SCC 68 we have afforded adequate and sufficient opportunity to place all relevant materials on record.
Shatrughna Baban Meshram surveyed 67 Judgments of Supreme Court in previous 40 Years wherein Death Sentence had been imposed by Trial Court or High Court for alleged offences under Sections 376 and 302 of The Indian Penal Code, 1860 and where age of victims was below 16. It appears, low age of victim has not been considered as ‘only’ or ‘sufficient’ factor for imposing a Death Sentence.
We find sufficient mitigating factors to commute Death Sentence into Life Imprisonment; 30 Years – No Premature Release/Remission.
– Hon’ble Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Irappa Siddappa Murgannavar v. State of Karnataka, [Criminal Appeal Nos. 1473-1474 of 2017].