SC stays death penalty of Maharashtra man convicted of raping, murdering minor

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the death sentence of a man convicted for sexually assaulting and killing a minor girl in Maharashtra’s Thane district in 2013.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, asked the Maharashtra government to bring on record all reports of the probation officers in connection with the prisoner on the death row, within eight weeks.

The bench, also comprising Justices Hima Kohli and J.B. Pardiwala, citing a judgment, said this court had issued guidelines on the need for conducting psychological and psychiatric assessment of the convicts on the death row. “The execution of the sentence of death shall remain suspended pending the hearing and final disposal of the appeals,” it said, in its order.

It directed the Yerawada Central jail authority to provide the details of the nature of work done by convict Ramkirat Munilal Goud, 30, who was a watchman, during his imprisonment since 2013.

The bench directed government authorities concerned to provide access to Nuriya Ansari, who works as a mitigation investigator at ‘Project 39’ — a criminal justice initiative based out of National Law University — to the convict to carry out an independent psychological and psychiatric assessment and asked the Jail Superintendent will also submit a report on the behaviour of the convict.

The bench said the hospital would constitute a team to carry out psychological evaluation of the convict and the report be submitted to the court in eight weeks.

“The Head of Sassoon General Hospital, Pune shall constitute a suitable team for the purpose of carrying out a psychological evaluation of the appellant. The report of the evaluation shall be submitted to this court through the standing Counsel for the State of Maharashtra within a period of eight weeks,” it said.

The petitioner moved the apex court against his conviction and sentence and later filed an interim application seeking his psychological evaluation as mitigating circumstances.

The prosecution had claimed that the accused had raped the victim and killed her before throwing her body in a pond. In 2019, the trial court sentenced the accused to death and the Bombay High Court confirmed the conviction and death penalty in 2021.


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