2013 Shakti Mills gangrape: Bombay HC converts death sentence of three accused to life in jail

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In 2013, a photojournalist was gang-raped at the defunct Shakti Mills in Mumbai. He was sentenced to death by a lower court in 2014.

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday quashed the death sentences of three convicts of the 2013 gang-rape of a photojournalist inside Mumbai’s Shakti Mills complex. The court commuted the sentence of all three to life imprisonment.

The convicts’ counsel Yug Choudhary told the high court that the death penalty was a violation of the fundamental right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Chowdhury also argued that the death sentence awarded to him was wrong in law as there existed a “huge gap” between the “harm” and the “punishment” he had inflicted.

Today’s hearing by the Bombay High Court comes seven years after a lower court in Mumbai sentenced him to death.

The trial court had in 2014 registered a case against Kasim ‘Bengali’ Shaikh, Salim Ansari and Vijay Jadhav under Section 376 (E) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sentenced them to death.

Section 376(e) providing for life imprisonment or death for repeat offenders of rape, was added to the IPC through the Criminal (Law) Amendment Act 2013, following the outrage over the Delhi gang rape of December 2012.

The counsel for the convicts moved the high court saying their clients were given death sentence for wrongful application of the law.

A 19-year-old telephone operator had earlier registered a case of gang rape in the defunct Shakti Mills premises. The accused in the alleged rape were mostly the same.

In March 2014, the sessions court convicted the three common accused for the gang-rape of the telephone operator and also convicted them for the gang-rape of the photojournalist.

First published:November 25, 2021 at 11:50 am

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