Mumbai: Observing that the ‘civil society’ has a fundamental right to live free from any threat or danger at the hands of anti-social elements, the Supreme Court on Thursday confirmed the death sentence, awarded to a 33-year-old man for unnatural sex, rape and murder of a 2-year-old girl in Aurangabad.
A three-judge SC bench upheld the death sentence of Ravi Ghumare by a 2:1 majority, with one judge refusing to hang him till death for the offence.
The bench, led by Justice Rohinton Nariman, was seized with an appeal by Ghumare, challenging the death awarded to him by a trial court and upheld by the Bombay High Court.
The two judges on the bench, who upheld the conviction and death sentence were Justices Nariman and Surya Kant while Justice R Subhash Reddy, who gave a separate, but dissenting pronouncement, refused to hand over death to Ghumare.
“A civic society has a fundamental and human right to live free from any kind of psycho fear, threat, danger or insecurity at the hands of anti-social elements,” observed Justice Kant, who delivered the verdict for himself and for Justice Nariman.
Junking Ghumare’s pleadings for reconsideration of the death sentence, the two judges deemed it to be a ‘fit and a rarest of rare’ case to impose capital punishment.
“The victim was barely a two-year-old baby whom Ghumare kidnapped and apparently kept on assaulting over 4-5 hours till she breathed her last. He had no control over his carnal desires surpassed all-natural, social and legal limits just to satiate his sexual hunger. He ruthlessly finished a life which was yet to bloom,” the majority view reads.
“Instead of showing fatherly love, affection and protection to the child against the evils of the society, Ghumare rather made her the victim of lust. It’s a case where trust has been betrayed and social values are impaired. The unnatural sex with the toddler exhibits a dirty and perverted mind, showcasing a horrifying tale of brutality,” the judgment read further.
As far as the dissenting ruling of Justice Reddy is concerned, he though upheld Ghumare’s conviction but refused death for him citing his ‘poverty’ and the fact he was inebriated at the time.
“It is clear on the fateful day, he was under influence of liquor and he had no previous history of any crimes. In absence of any evidence from the prosecution to show he cannot be reformed to bring into mainstream society, these can modify the sentence,” Justice Reddy said.
“The socio-economic condition of Ghumare, as a person below the poverty line, can be considered as one of the mitigating factors, while balancing the aggravating and mitigating factors,” he held.