The Supreme Court (SC) commuted to life Tuesday the death penalty of a tailor who killed his wife,two minor sons and tried to murder his daughter.
Maintaining that life imprisonment was the rule and death an exception,SC said accused Sunil Gaikwad suffered from economic and psychic compulsions and the possibility of his reform and rehabilitation could not be ruled out.
There is nothing to show he had a previous criminal background. The appellant,in fact,intended to wipe out the whole family,including himself,on account of abject poverty. This aspect has not been properly appreciated by both the sessions and high courts, said a bench of justices S J Mokhapadhaya and Kurian Joseph.
Gaikwad stabbed his wife and two sons to death with scissors on July 8,2008. He was frustrated that he could not provide for his family.
After killing his wife and sons,he stabbed his daughter,who asked him why he was killing her. Gaikwad gave her water to drink and then tried to stifle her to death by pressing a pillow on her mouth. She,however,survived.
Gaikwad then went to a police station and surrendered.
SC held poverty,socio-economic and psychic compulsions and undeserved adversities were mitigating factors,in addition to those indicated in landmark cases that laid down guidelines for inflicting death.
If we analyse the facts of the case against the backdrop of the circumstances of the appellant at the time of commission of the offence and on applying the crime test and the criminal test,it is fairly clear it does not fall in the rarest of rare category to warrant a punishment of death. The individually inconclusive and cumulatively marginal facts and circumstances tend towards awarding a lesser sentence of life imprisonment.