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SUPREME COURT ACQUITS 6 DEATH CONVICTS BELONGING TO NOMADIC TRIBE AND ORDERS FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION

Team SoOLEGAL 6 Mar 2019 10:47am

SUPREME COURT ACQUITS 6 DEATH CONVICTS BELONGING TO NOMADIC TRIBE AND ORDERS FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION

Ankush Maruti Shinde and five other persons were accused of raping and murdering a lady along with a 15 year old child. The lady managed to survive, but the child succumbed to internal injuries. Supreme Court had awarded death penalty to the convicts in the year 2009. But, in the delivered judgment, the  Court called for their acquittal.

The State was directed to compensate the accused with Rs 5 Lakhs each because they were being dragged in the case due to their belonging to the nomadic tribe.

"Except one, all of them are in jail since last 16 years. All were facing the hanging sword of death penalty. Out of six accused persons, one was subsequently found to be a juvenile. As per the report of Dr. Ashit Sheth, a Psychiatrist, who examined one of the accused – Ankush Maruti Shinde, who was subsequently found to be a juvenile, he has clearly opined that he has lived under sub-human conditions for several years. He was kept in isolation in solitary confinement with very restricted human contact and under perpetual fear of death. He was only allowed to meet his mother, and that too only infrequently. He was not even allowed to mix with other prisoners. Therefore, all the accused remained under constant stress and in the perpetual fear of death. As they were facing the death penalty, they might not have availed any other facilities of parole, furlon etc. All of them who were between the age of 25-30 years (and one of the accused was a juvenile) have lost their valuable years of their life in jail. Their family members have also suffered." 


The Supreme Court observed that the conviction recorded by the Trial Court was relying on depositions of the witness. The same witness later gave evidences against the accused persons. But allegations made by her were neither narrated to the police or before the Executive Magistrate. The Supreme Court observed that although this was important to be done, but these are minor omissions which could be avoided while discussing the matter.

The Court ordered for further investigation under Section 173(8), Code of Criminal Procedure and held that:

"The prosecution is directed to conduct further investigation under Section 173(8) of the Code of Criminal Procedure qua those four persons who were identified by PW8 – an injured eye witness on 7.6.2003 from the album of photographs of notorious criminals with their names, i.e., immediately after the incident, whose particulars and names are mentioned in the statement of PW8 recorded by PW13 on 7.6.2003, so that real culprits should not go unpunished in a crime in which five persons were killed brutally and one lady was even subjected to rape." 

The bench, comprising of Justices A.K. Sikri, S Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah belittled the conduct of the investigating agency and the prosecution and directed the Chief Secretary, Home Department, State of Maharashtra to enquire into the matter and take departmental action against those erring officers/officials, if those officers/officials are still in service.

Tagged: SupremeCourt   JusticeAKSikri   JusticeAbdulNazeer   JusticeMRShah   Acquittal   Murder   Rape  
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