Holding that no leniency should be shown in cases of “kidnap, demand for ransom and murder”, the Supreme Court on Tuesday slapped death sentence on an accused who had kidnapped a seven-year-old boy and strangulated him to death for failure to pay the ransom money of Rs.5 lakh.

A Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and J. S. Khehar said “the court will not only have to examine what is just but also what the accused deserves keeping in view the impact on society at large. Every punishment imposed is bound to have its effect not only on the accused alone but also on society as a whole. Thus the courts should consider retributive and deterrent aspect of punishment while imposing the extreme punishment of death.”

The Bench upheld an order of the Madras High Court confirming a judgment of the trial court awarding death sentence to appellant Sundar alias Sundararajan of Karkudal village in Virudachalam taluk of Tamil Nadu.

The prosecution case was that the appellant kidnapped the boy, Suresh from school on July 27, 2007 and demanded Rs.5 lakh as ransom for his release and since the amount was not paid, killed the boy the same night. He put the body of Suresh in a gunny bag and thereafter had thrown it in the Meerankulam tank. The accused-appellant was found guilty of the offence under Section 364A of the Indian Penal Code (Kidnapping for ransom).

Writing the judgment, Justice Khehar said “the accused caused the murder of the child of seven years. Kidnapping of a child was committed with the motive of carrying home a ransom. On account of non-payment of ransom, a minor child’s murder was committed. This fact demonstrates that the accused had no value for human life. The instant circumstance demonstrates extreme mental perversion not worthy of human condonation. The facts and circumstances of the case do not depict any previous enmity between the parties. There is no grave and sudden provocation, which had compelled the accused to take the life of an innocent child. The murder of a child, in such circumstances makes this a case of extreme culpability.”

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