The Madhya Pradesh High Court has upheld a lower court’s order awarding death sentence to a man for raping and killing a four-year-old girl, observing that “humanity is more in danger in the hands of persons like the convict”.
Describing the offence as an act of “extreme depravity” and taking note of the rise in crimes against minor girls, the court said in such cases, an extreme punishment would deter other criminals.
“The extreme judgment conveys a message to these predators that it is not a soft state where criminals committing such serious crimes may get reprieve in the guise of humanity,” a division bench of Chief Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Vijay Kumar Shukla said yesterday.
“Crimes against the girl child are on a rise, therefore, extreme punishment may deter other criminals from indulging in such crimes,” the bench said, dismissing the appeal filed by Rahul Chouhtha (23) against his conviction by a trial court in Madhya Pradesh’s Shahdol district.
Chouhtha had lured the four-year-old girl with biscuits in Shahdol on May 13 last year, before raping and killing her.
Shahdol District and Sessions Judge R K Singh had sentenced Chouhtha to death on February 28 this year.
The high court said such a crime sent a “shockwave” in the society when committed against a girl child.
It was an act of “extreme depravity” when the appellant prompted a young child, whose only fault was that she believed the appellant to be her well-wisher, to accompany him, it observed.
“Humanity is more in danger in the hands of persons like the appellant. Therefore, we find that the capital punishment awarded to the appellant is one of the rarest of rare cases where the extreme punishment is warranted,” the bench said.
The court said it had the social responsibility to make the citizens of the country know that law could not come to the rescue of such a person on the basis of humanity.
“The appellant was a young unmarried boy, aged 22 years at the time of commission of the offence, but he breached the trust of a girl child of four years when he tempted her by offering biscuits to accompany him to meet her father,” the court said.
He violated her and took her life within three-four hours of taking her with him, the bench observed.