A view of the Supreme Court in New Delhi 20190924
A view of the Supreme Court in New Delhi Image Credit: PTI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday confirmed the death penalty to a man convicted of murder and rape of a two-year-old girl.

The sentence was confirmed by 2:1 majority by a three-judge bench of Justices R. F. Nariman, Surya Kant and R.Subhash Reddy.

The top court was hearing convict Ravi's plea challenging a Bombay High Court order which has confirmed the death penalty after holding him guilty of murder and rape.

Justices Nariman and Kant observed that the victim was barely a two-year old baby whom the convict kidnapped and apparently kept on assaulting over 4-5 hours till she breathed her last. The bench said that it is a case where trust has been betrayed and social values are impaired.

The incident took place in March 2012 in Jalna in Maharashtra. The majority judgement held that the "convict had no control over his carnal desires (and) surpassed all natural, social and legal limits just to satiate his sexual hunger."

"He ruthlessly finished a life which was yet to bloom. The appellant instead of showing fatherly love, affection and protection to the child against the evils of the society, rather made her the victim of lust," Justices Nariman and Kant said.

"The unnatural sex with a two-year old toddler exhibits a dirty and perverted mind, showcasing a horrifying tale of brutality. The appellant meticulously executed his nefarious design by locking one door of his house from the outside and bolting the other one from the inside so as to deceive people into believing that nobody was inside. The appellant was thus in his full senses while he indulged in this senseless act," the majority judgement said.

However, Justice Reddy dissented and opined that case was based on circumstantial evidence and said that death sentence imposed on the appellant is modified to life imprisonment, without any remission.

The majority judgement also opined that the Parliament has thought it fit to award death penalty for child rape by amending Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) in 2019. In the amendment law, death sentence was introduced as a penalty for the offence of aggravated penetrative sexual assault on a child below 12 years.