Hearing an appeal against the death sentence awarded to state transport bus driver Santosh Mane, who had hijacked a bus that crushed nine people to death, the Bombay High Court Thursday said it would to consider his mental status at the time of the incident.
On January 25 last year, Mane hijacked an ST bus from a depot in Pune and went on a rampage, killing nine people and injuring 37, besides damaging over 25 vehicles. He was awarded death by a Pune sessions court on April 8 last year after being convicted under Sections 381, 302, 307, 324 and 427 of the Indian Penal Code.
In May last year, Mane challenged the sentence in the HC, which set aside the death term and asked the sessions court to take a fresh decision after giving Mane a hearing.
The Pune sessions court again awarded Mane death sentence on December 11 last year, after which he appealed again in the HC.
While the prosecution has maintained Mane was in sound state of mind when he committed the crime, the defence has claimed he suffered from a psychiatric disorder and should be given relief. The defence had also produced a Solapur-based psychiatrist Dr Dilip Burte, who claimed to have treated Mane for “mania” for a period of over a year.
Posting the matter on March 12 for fixing a date for hearing of Mane’s plea, the division bench said the fact that he was undergoing treatment was not of paramount importance but his mental condition at the time of the incident was.