Mumbai: HC commutes death to life for man, who killed minor girl

A bench of Justices Sadhana Jadhav and Prithviraj Chavan was hearing a plea filed by Mohammad Aabed Mohammad Ajmir Shaikh, 23, challenging the death sentence imposed on him by a special court.

Narsi BenwalUpdated: Tuesday, February 08, 2022, 10:54 PM IST
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Mumbai: HC commutes death to life for man, who killed minor girl | Unsplash

Observing that the accused, "a 20-year-old lad had suddenly thought it vengeance for humiliation but wasn't overpowered with lust" the Bombay High Court on Tuesday commuted to life, the death penalty of a man, who was initially convicted for kidnapping, raping and killing a four-year-old girl child in Bhiwandi. The HC, however, held that there wasn't any material to convict the man for charges of rape and accordingly acquitted him from the offence but maintained a life sentence for charges of kidnapping and murder.

A bench of Justices Sadhana Jadhav and Prithviraj Chavan was hearing a plea filed by Mohammad Aabed Mohammad Ajmir Shaikh, 23, challenging the death sentence imposed on him by a special court.

In April 2018, Aabed, who was humiliated by the victim's father for non-payment of money a few years ago, had picked up the girl and he took her to a nearby secluded place and throttled her and dumped her body in thorny bushes.

It relieved upon the "extra-judicial confession" that Aabed made to his roommate, wherein he specifically stated, "to have committed a huge mistake and has killed the girl by throttling her neck."

The bench led by Justice Jadhav noted that the prosecution failed to bring on record, any evidence to show that the minor girl was sexually abused. The bench relied upon the medical evidence and also the Chemical Analysis (CA) report which too ruled out sexual assault.

"For parents, the loss of a child is not just loss of a person they loved, but it is a psychological loss for the parents as their dreams for the child come to an end. It creates a vacuum from within," the bench observed.

Further, the bench said that since the girl wasn't raped and the fact that he only throttled her and didn't pelt stone on her head causing a deadly injury, the case doesn't fall under the "rarest of rare" category which is a mandate for confirming the death sentence.

"It needs to be considered that Aabed must have never had a safe, loving atmosphere in his house. Due to the economic stringency, he had started working at the age of 18 to earn his living," the bench said, adding, "But at the same time, his act committed is brutal and deserves no leniency."

"Although the offence is barbaric and heinous, The state has failed to bring on record any material to show that there is no scope for his reformation or rehabilitation," the judges noted, further adding that "he is not a hardened criminal and therefore, there is every hope that he could be reformed, rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society."

"The accused is a young man. Satisfaction of personal vendetta had overpowered him momentarily and in that moment of deprivation of self-control, he had committed the offence," the bench took into account.

"What needs to be appreciated is his first statement before his roommate which is to the extent that he had committed a grave blunder which in his own words - mujhse bahut badi galti huwi hai' - this expression by itself would demonstrate the remorse which he was going through," the bench further noted.

"It is true that a small child was victimized and was made a subject of the hostile and diabolical act by Aabed, the said act cannot be forgiven by considering the age of the accused alone," the bench opined.

It accordingly acquitted Aabed from charges of rape but confirmed his conviction for murder and kidnapping.

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