Bombay High Court to decide if two rapists must be hanged or not

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday reserved its judgment on whether to execute the death sentence of the two men, convicted for raping and killing a BPO employee in 2007. The duo - Purushottam Borate and Pradeep Kakade - were scheduled to be hanged on June 24, however, they moved the bench of Justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Swapna Joshi, seeking to commute their death into life. The bench had last week stayed the execution saying that they must be given a "fair" chance to fight their case. In the petitions before the bench, the duo cited the inordinate delay by the Maharashtra government in executing the death sentence by over four years.

Appearing for the state government, Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, Advocate General (AG) informed the judges that there was no delay on part of the State and instead it is the fault of the sessions court, which did not respond to the continuous letters written by the jail authorities and the government seeking a warrant for the execution. On the contrary, the counsel appearing for the convicts informed the judges that the union home ministry has refused to furnish four documents, based on which a report was prepared and sent to the President of India for deciding the mercy petition. He informed the bench that on June 16, the Central Information Commissioner (CIC) had ordered the union government to hand over the documents. The convicts in their plea have claimed that the inordinate delay of over four years have violated their fundamental right as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The plea has been opposed by the government urging the bench to strike a balance between the rights of the convicts and that of the victim's family.

Having heard these submissions, Justice Dharmadhikari had on an earlier hearing, which took place last week, stayed the execution. And on Tuesday, the bench reserved its judgment.

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