Supreme Court: Upholding the death sentence of the appellant in the present case, the three Judge Bench of H.L. Dattu, C.J., S.A. Bobde and Arun Mishra, JJ., observed that Parricide is one of the most heinous crimes and in the case at hand the crime has been committed in the most inhuman and grotesque manner by the appellant- accused, which shows their lack of remorse, kindness and humanity; therefore death sentence for them is the only punishment which is in proportion to their crime.
As per the facts of the instant case, in April 2008, seven members of the appellant- accused’s (Shabnam) family, which included a 10 month old infant, were brutally hacked to death. Upon investigation, it was revealed that Shabnam along with her paramour Saleem (appellant- accused No.2) had carried out the ghastly act in a meticulously planned way. The 10 month old infant was throttled by Shabnam herself as per the witnesses. The Trial Court examined the case with detailed precision and termed the case as falling under the category of “rarest of the rare”. The Allahabad High Court too upheld the decision of the Trial Court, stating that the nature of the crime was “diabolical and calculated with methodical planning”. Amicus Curiae Dushyant Parashar representing the appellants, prayed that leniency should be shown to them as they were young during the commission of crime and were under mental stress due to the opposition of their relationship from Shabnam’s family, and presently they have a child who is totally dependant on them and would be orphaned if appellants are awarded death penalty.
The Court rejected the contentions of the Amicus Curiae stating that the law does not take into account such circumstances to commute death sentence, as such situations exist in almost all murder cases. The Court further observed that in India, daughters play a multifaceted role in taking responsibilities of the family and nurturing them with care and love, therefore the parricide becomes all the more shocking where the appellant who being an educated lady and a teacher herself, carried out the murder with such ruthlessness so as to shock the conscience of the society. The Court further observed that the crime was committed only because the illicit relationship of the appellants was being opposed by the family, so out of their sheer blind lust, they murdered the sleeping, defenseless family and an infant. The prosecution had satisfactorily proved the guilt of the appellant- accused, also the appellants stooped to a lower level where they even implicated each other. The Court, keeping in mind the principle of “rarest of the rare” as laid down in Bacchan Singh v. State of Punjab, (1980) 2 SCC 684, held that diabolical nature of the crime is certain by the cold- blooded finesse with which the murder was committed, therefore the case certainly becomes “rarest of the rare”. Shabnam v. State of U.P., 2015 SCC OnLine SC 492, decided on 15.05.2015