Even as there is a nationwide outrage and demand for death to rapists, the Supreme Court had commuted the capital punishment to life imprisonment for a young man — who raped a pregnant woman and killed her grand mother-in-law — on the ground that the accused was drunk and not in a normal state of mind.

Strongly reacting to the court’s judgement the victim’s family on Sunday said the perpetrator of the crime had “no right to live”.

The apex court was of the view that the mental condition of an accused be examined before putting the offence in the rarest of the rare category.

A bench of justices Swatanter Kumar (now retired) and Madan B. Lokur had said the manner in which the crime was committed, the mental condition of accused must be examined before putting the offence in the rarest of rare category.

“It is not only the crime and its various facets which are the foundation for formation of special reasons as contemplated under Section 354(3) of the CrPC (pertaining to death sentence) for imposing death penalty but it is also the criminal, his background,” the bench had said.

In the case, convict Sainath Kailash Abhang (then 23- year- old) had, on September 10, 2007, entered the 65-year-old woman’s house in Pune and had killed her in a barbaric act, chopping off her fingers and later stabbing her repeatedly He then assaulted the pregnant daughter-in-law of the deceased and raped her.

The court after going through all the evidences, including the statement of the injured lady, who said the convict was drunk, had granted him the relief.

“Rarest of the rare cases”

Speaking on behalf of the family, advocate D.Y. Jadhav, who had fought the case as public prosecutor in Pune sessions court which had awarded death penalty to the accused that was later upheld by the High Court, told PTI, “This was one of the rarest of the rare cases. My client was very keen on death penalty to the perpetrator of the heinous crime and is disappointed.”

Mr. Jadhav, who has since retired as public prosecutor, said as a lawyer he respected the court’s verdict but added that it was “unfortunate” that the convict was spared of the gallows even after committing such a brutal and inhuman act.

Like every rape victim, the woman died a “mental death” when she was assaulted, he said.

The victim, who was five-months pregnant at the time of the crime, later gave birth to a child. She too was assaulted with knife by the accused but took the cuts on her back to save the foetus.