The death sentence is extremely important and a convict should not be under an impression that it remains open-ended, said Supreme Court on Thursday.

Court’s remarks came amid the recent events related to the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case in which the death sentence of four convicts was postpone to February 1 which was earlier scheduled for January 22.

The Supreme Court was hearing the review petitions filed by Shabnam and Salim who were sentenced to death for murdering her father and six other family members, including a 10-year-old infant, for opposing the couple’s relationship.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and comprising SA Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna said it is believed that every criminal is said to have an innocent heart. However, the court has to look into the crime also as they heard the pleas of the convicts’ counsel for a re-look at the sentence, as they have reformed positively after their conviction.

“It is difficult to accept the degree of reform introduced in their behaviour should be considered as a mitigating factor in this case. This argument will have consequences beyond this case,” Chief Justice said.

“We are doing justice on behalf of the society and the victims. We cannot forgive a convict who has been convicted because there is a law, which deals with a criminal,” he added.

The court also observed that if taking into consideration the reformation of the convicts after conviction is accepted, then no death penalty can be carried out.

“The convicts will say we have reformed and we can come out,” it said.

“We don’t want to focus or emphasise only on rights of accused in a case where seven people including a 10-month-old baby was murdered,” he said.

Reserving the order on the review petition, the apex court said, “Can a death row convict, once he mends his ways and reforms after conviction be spared the execution of the sentence.”

(With inputs from IANS)