Rape and Murder of Minor: SC reduces death penalty to life imprisonment citing convict’s socio-economic background, probability of reformation and rehabilitation


The Supreme Court in the case of Bhagwani v/s The State of Madhya Pradesh reduced the death penalty into life imprisonment citing convict’s socio-economic background, probability of reformation and rehabilitation.

One Brijlal Yadav along with his wife Kalawati, two sons and his daughter went to the house of Anil Maravi to attend a function of Chowk Barhon (naming ceremony). While they were returning back at around 11.00 p.m., they realized that their daughter was missing. They started searching and at about 5:00 AM on the next day, he found her daughter lying near a hand-pump. Her daughter was unconscious. He started howling at which his wife and others reached the place and called the police. The District Scientific Officer, conducted inspection of the place of incident. 

Mr. Singh, counsel appearing for the Appellant, contended that none of the discoveries and the recoveries implicate the Appellant. He argued that the disclosure statement of Satish and the disclosure statement of the Appellant was recorded one and half hours later. 

Ms. Ankita Chaudhary, Deputy Advocate General for the State of Madhya Pradesh, defended the judgments of the Trial Court and the High Court by submitting that there is no break in the chain of events/ circumstances. She contended that, the prosecution proved that there was a function of Chowk Barhon at the house of Anil Maravi, the victim was seen at the shop of Chain Singh and after a short while, the Appellant visited the shop and one witness witnessed the deceased going to the house of Satish which was corroborated by Satish in his statement under Section 313 CrPC in which he admitted that the deceased came to his house to keep her black shawl.

The three judge bench of Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice B.V. Nagarathna noted that no evidence has been placed by the prosecution on record to show that there is no probability of rehabilitation and reformation of the Appellant.

The court said that taking into account the barbaric and savage manner in which the offences of rape and murder were committed by the Appellant on a helpless 11 year old girl, the Appellant is sentenced to life imprisonment for a period of 30 years during which he shall not be granted remission.  

The court while partly allowing the appeal upheld the conviction of the Appellant under Sections 363, 366A, 364, 346, 376D, 376A, 302, 201 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and Section 5(g) (m) read with Section 6 of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

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