Observing that there is “no remorse” on the part of the accused and the case falls in the category of “rarest of the rare”, the Bombay High Court on Thursday upheld the death sentence of Chandraban Sanap (33) for raping and murdering a 23-year-old techie on January 5, 2014.
The court said that the “offence of murder was committed for a petty achievement of satisfying the lust of the accused”.
A division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Bharati H Dangre observed, “(The victim) was done to death by the accused for no fault of her own, except for a reason that she is a woman and she fell prey to the sinister design of the accused to fulfill his lust. The said attitude of the accused, according to us, deserves a death sentence.”
The woman used to live in Andheri. The prosecution has said that in the early hours of January 5, 2014, she reached Lokmanya Tilak Terminus where Sanap, a petty thief, posed as a driver and offered her a lift. Sanap took her to a secluded spot where he raped and killed her. After setting her body on fire, he left with her two bags. Her body was discovered on January 16, 2014, in a decomposed state. On October 27, 2015, the trial court had awarded Sanap the death sentence.
The bench said: “It is obvious that the accused who after drinking liquor was wandering the whole night and spotted on the railway platform in the early hours and on seeing a young lonely helpless woman, who easily fell prey to his concocted story of offering to drive her to destination and who took her to secluded spot (sic)…”
“When a woman in the society is raped, it is not only she who is subjected to rape, but it is the tendency that is reflected to overpower, to violate and to crash the dignity of the entire woman creed in the society… The women in this country may not demand they be worshipped in the modern days scenario but they would surely expect to breathe freely and feel safe and comfortable in and outside their houses,” it added.
The court said that the judiciary cannot be expected to remain a mute spectator when neither a young girl of two years nor a woman of 70 years feel safe. “We cannot shut our eyes to the cases reported day-in and day-out about such young girls and women being raped and victimised.”
“…We have noticed that there is no remorse on his part… he had a previous history of being involved in activities prohibited by law and he was involved in petty cases of theft. As against this, the manner of commission of crime by him and causing death of the deceased is extremely shocking,” it said. “Such a person would surely remain a menace to the society and in this backdrop, we are of the firm view that there are no extraneous mitigating circumstances available on record which may justify imposition of a sentence less than a death sentence which the learned Sessions Court has imposed,” the court added.
In the order, the bench said that the case “amounts to devastation of social trust and shocks the social conscience”.
When contacted, the victim’s father said, “Justice has prevailed after four years. I am not bothered if he wants to go to Supreme Court (to appeal).”