Decided on November 28,2002

Jaswamt Singh Respondents


- (1.)THIS appeal and the special leave petition arise out of an order made by the High Court modifying the sentence of death imposed upon the respondent in Criminal Appeal No. 633 of 1995 (Respondent 2 in SLPs (Crl.) Nos. 3347-48 of 1994).
(2.)THE High Court while affirming the conviction imposed by the trial court felt that the motive for commission of crime was obscure and it cannot be said with any degree of certainty that the accused committed the murder of Raj Kumari and Raj Rani out of greed or gain. The Court, however, noticed that the said two persons Raj Kumari and Raj Rani were two old, infirm and defenceless ladies who had reposed confidence in him and engaged him as a domestic servant. Even so, the High Court held that it was not a rarest of the rare cases or an exceptional case which calls for imposition of extreme penalty of death on the said accused and, therefore, declined to accept the reference made by the trial court for confirmation of the death sentence and allowed the appeal before it to reduce the sentence to imprisonment for life under S.302 IPC.
Shri. P. N. Lekhi, learned Senior Advocate submitted that this is a case where two innocent ladies had been murdered in the most grotesque manner and if one notices the scene of crime as disclosed by the prosecution case, there cannot be any manner of doubt as to motive. He further submitted, assuming for a moment that as observed by the High Court, the motive may not be clear still if it had been established that the two ladies met with their end at the hands of the accused in the manner described in the course of the evidence tendered before the Court, there could be no manner of doubt that it is one of the rarest of the rare cases as noticed by this Court in somewhat identical circumstances in Amrutlal Someshwar Joshi v. State of Maharashtra, 1994 (6) SCC 186 : 1994 SCC (Cri.) 1591. He submitted that this is a case where the master of the house had been killed by a servant. He emphasised that the Court in the reported case having realised certain values in relation to master and servant had dwindled and held that it would be appropriate to impose a sentence of death and that should be the course to be adopted in the present case also.

(3.)PERHAPS we would have accepted what the learned Senior Advocate submitted before us in this case, had there not been other circumstances arising in the present case.

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