Supreme Court commutes death sentence of four people to life imprisonment

The Supreme Court on February 27th 2014 commuted the Death sentence of four people to life imprisonment. In a case argued by Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, of Human Rights Law Network, the court took into consideration the young age of the accused and their belonging to the economically, socially and educationally deprived section of the population. The Hon'ble court also took into consideration that while in custody all the accused had enrolled themselves in Yashahantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University and had either completed the B.A. examination or were on the verge of acquiring the degree. The appellants had at different points of time, participated in different programmes of Gandhian thoughts and have been awarded certificates of such participation. In prison, one accused had written a book titled "Resheemganth". Taking the above facts as aggravating circumstances the Hon'ble Court while disposing off the above case said "Balancing the two sets of circumstances i.e. one favoring commutation and the other favoring upholding the death penalty, we are of the view that in the present case the option of life sentence is not "unquestionably foreclosed". Therefore, the sentence of death awarded to the accused should be commuted to life imprisonment. We order, accordingly, and direct that each of the accused appellants, namely, Santosh Manohar Chavan, Amit Ashok Shinde, Yogesh Madhukar Chavan and Mahesh Dhanaji Shinde shall undergo imprisonment for life for commission of the offence under Section 302/120B IPC". The relatives of the above four persons are relieved and have taken a sigh of relief and they say that their boys are continuously reforming and thus their lives should have had been saved.