Author: Anshika Tyagi, 1st year student at Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai.
Essential details of the case
Case no.: Criminal Appeal No. 883/2014
Appellant: Yogendra alias Jogendra Singh
Respondent: State of Madhya Pradesh
Bench: Justice S.K. Gangele, Justice Rohit Arya
Date of Judgement: 12 Dec, 2014
Background of the case
- The case includes the petitioner accused of acid attack on the deceased leading to its death due to severe burn injuries along with injuring 3 prime witnesses of which 2 with simple burn injuries and 1 one prime witness leading to disfigurement of face due to acid burn.
- The counsel for the prosecution put forth that the accused was threatening the deceased to live with her and also her father to fulfill this demand or face dire consequences. Thus during midnight around 1:30 on 22nd July, 2013, the accused trespassed the house, entered the room of the deceased and attacked her with acid, after the other family members, who were sleeping, reached her room hearing her screams after which the accused threw acid on the members who were trying to stop him and then ran away.
- To this case, after all the facts being minutely studied the sessions court held the accused guilty and convicted him with capital punishment in its order dated 24th July, 2014 against which the current appeal is filed to this court.
- The counsel for the appellant advanced that the accused is being falsely framed in this case which is contradicted by the prosecution on the basis of the fingerprints of the accused found on the bottle in which acid was carried as per the forensic report. The argument of the appellant is also dismissed by the prosecution on the ground that the accused was easily recognizable by the family members due to enough light in the room which also points to the fact that the accused was the only one involved in this act.
- The prosecution based on the dying declarations of the deceased, who also accused the appellant for the attack on her, all the prime witnesses, including the examining doctors who confirmed the deceased being in conscious state before and after the dying declaration, advanced the decision of the session court as appropriate.
Issues at hand
- Whether the accused is guilty under sec. 302, 326(k) (3 counts) and section 460 of Indian Penal Code?
- Whether if the accused is guilty, the case comes under the category of ‘rarest of the rare’ making the convict punishable with capital punishment?
- The court on the basis of all the evidence held the accused guilty of the act, which was proved by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt.
- Based on the fact of the accused committing the act without any provocation or cause and already earlier been convicted for murder with life imprsionment, being commuted by the high court thus out on bail when he commited the barbaric act of acid attack which was pre-planned, leaving no scope for mitigating factors and accused being beyond reformation therefore making him a threat to the society, the court held the case as the ‘rarest of the rare’ and re-affirmed the decision of capital punishment of the session court.
- Relying on the case of Laxmi, Vs. Union of India, 2014, the court directed to pay a monetary compensation of Rs. 3,00,000 to the prime victim who faced face disfigurement due to the acid attack and Rs. 1,50,000 to the other two prime witnesses who suffered simple burn injuries due to attack within the period of 3 months by the collector of Morena.
- The court thus dismissed the criminal appeal of the appellant.
- The major aspect that the court dealt with is the analysis of the factors that make a case to fall under the category of ‘rarest of the rare’. In the present case the court relied on various judgements to consider such factors along with the mitigating factors. Among all cases, Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab was the case which had one dissenting view with respect to deciding a case as ‘rarest of the rare’ and opposed it heavily on the grounds of lack of proper standards, personal bias, lack of social,rational and legislative intent. But in the current case through various judgements and precedents, an effort has been made to provide some basis while deciding capital punishment.
- It has laid emphasis on the mitigating factors and cause for committing the act, provokation or dominance, age of the accused as well the victims, trust relationship between them and the final factor being the ability of the accused to be reformed and not remaining a threat to the society.
- Another aspect dealt in the current case is that of compensation for which reliance has been made on the case of Laxmi vs Union of India(2014) for the survivors of acid attack. The compensation provided is based on the medical expenses required to treat the acid burn injury which depends on the degree of injury, which is a very valid ground and an appreciable effort to ensure justice to acid attack survivors.
- Moreover the case has been decided by minutely considering all the evidence including forensic report, statement of doctors, investigating officer and prime witnesses and mitigating factors which ensured a just and fair conduct of the case.