New Delhi, 8 July
Stating that the court has to keep in mind the sentiments of the community and the message that may travel to the community at large, a city court has awarded life imprisonment to a man who killed the witness against him in another case in full public view at a marriage reception. While fleeing from the spot, the convict fired indiscriminately and injured another person.
Additional Sessions Judge Dr Kamini Lau awarded the life sentence to Jitender, a resident of Ashok Vihar, Delhi under Sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code.
"I am of a considered opinion that this case cannot be put on the same pedestal as other ordinary murder cases… It is also true that punishment in every case does send a message to the community at large," the ASJ said.
"Thus the court also has to keep in mind while awarding any punishment to a convict the sentiments of the community or the message which may travel to the community at large and the fact that it may deter similar other such like offenders… The present case can be easily classified as a ‘rare case’ which calls for the exercising of alternative options by the court," said the court.
According to the prosecution, on 10 March 1999, at Keshav Puram Community Centre, the convict murdered Anil Badana by shooting him and caused gun shot injuries to Madan Lal Sharma while firing indiscriminately.
Jitender thereafter started fleeing and the other friends of Anil, who were present nearby, started chasing him and even threw stones at him. While fleeing, Jitender again stopped and fired indiscriminately at the persons who were chasing him and in that process a bullet hit Madan Lal, the father of the bridegroom, Vijay Sharma, on his leg.
Anil was brought to Sunder Lal Jain hospital where he was declared ‘brought dead’. Madan Lal Sharma in the meantime was taken to the nearby Garg Nursing Home where he was provided necessary medical treatment.
The Crime Branch’s homicide section apprehended Jitender from Naraina bus stand on 23 January 2000.
"It is contended that the convict Jitender further in order to finish off all witnesses so that none is in a position to depose against him, went to the house of eye witness Sumit Nayyar who had called the police at 100 number and on coming to know he had not reached home, killed his father," noted the court.
It also noted that the convict had also escaped from police custody and according to the prosecution had extended threats to the witnesses during this period showing that he did not have any remorse for the ghastly killings for which he was undergoing trial.
During the argument on the quantum on sentence, additional public prosecutor Sukhbeer Singh submitted that the gruesome act of the convict Jitender to kill innocent persons without any fault only reflects depravity of an exceptional nature. "The act of the convict reflects that he has become a menace to society and he deserves capital punishment upon him," said the prosecution.
The defence counsel, Neelam Singh, however, prayed that the convict may be awarded minimum punishment as prescribed by the law under the facts and circumstances of the case as it does not fall within the category of “rarest of the rare cases” warranting extreme punishment of death.
The court also imposed rigorous imprisonment for life with the direction that he shall not be considered for grant of remission till he undergoes an actual sentence of 30 years and fine for a sum Rs 4,00,000 in which Rs 2,00,000 shall be paid to the family of Anil.