The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the execution of its own sentence of death imposed on B.A. Umesh, who violently raped and murdered a girl.

A Bench of Justices B. Sudershan Reddy and S.S. Nijjar stayed the February 1 judgment, which confirmed the death sentence awarded by the trial court and upheld by the Karnataka High Court.

This is the second instance of the Supreme Court, acting on a writ petition, staying the execution of the death sentence awarded by it earlier. In the ‘Dharmapuri bus burning case', while one Bench confirmed the death penalty for three persons, another Bench of Justices Reddy and Nijjar stayed the execution of the sentence. In the present case also, the execution of Umesh was stayed by the same Bench.

On February 1, a Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and A.K. Patnaik had said: “We are satisfied that the extreme depravity with which the offence was committed by the appellant [with both hands of the girl tied] and the merciless manner in which death was inflicted on the victim, bring them within the category of the rarest of rare cases which merits the death penalty, as awarded by the trial court and confirmed by the High Court.”

The Bench said that the offences committed by Umesh were neither under duress nor on provocation, and an innocent life was snuffed out by him after committing violent rape. He did not feel any remorse, inasmuch as, within two days of the incident he was caught by the local public while committing a similar offence in the house of another woman.

The writ petition by Umesh is against the execution of this death sentence.