download-judgmentSupreme Court has on 8 May 2015, dismissed the appeal and confirmed the death sentence granted by Bombay High Court to cab driverPurushottam Borate and his friend PradeepKokate, who raped and viciously killed a 22-year old woman who was traveling in the company’s pick-up cab on 1 November 2007.

Case No. Criminal Appeal No. 1439 of 2013
Case Title Purshottam Dahrath Borate & Anr. v. State of Maharashtra
  1. Purushottam Dashrath Borate – Cab Driver
  2. Pradeep Yashwant Kokade – Painter
Bench Chief Justice HL Dattu, Justice S.A. Bobde and Justice Arun Mishra.

The judgment has been authored by Chief Justice HL Dattu, who writing for the bench, noted that to act as deterrent for the increasing crime against women, the sentencing policy to be adopted by the courts should be ‘stricter’. Court observed:

In recent years, the rising crime rate, particularly violent crimes against women has made the criminal sentencing by the Courts a subject of concern. The sentencing policy adopted by the Courts, in such cases, ought to have a stricter yardstick so as to act as a deterrent. There are a shockingly large number of cases where the sentence of punishment awarded to the accused is not in proportion to the gravity and magnitude of the offence thereby encouraging the criminal and in the ultimate making justice suffer by weakening the system’s credibility. The object of sentencing policy should be to see that the crime does not go unpunished and the victim of crime as also the society has the satisfaction that justice has been done to it.

Court termed the case as one which shocked the collective conscience of the court and community and observed:

It is true that any case of rape and murder would cause a shock to the society but all such offences may not cause revulsion in society. Certain offences shock the collective conscience of the court and community. The heinous offence of gang-rape of an innocent and helpless young woman by those in whom she had reposed trust, followed by a cold-blooded murder and calculated attempt of cover-up is one such instance of a crime which shocks and repulses the collective conscience of the community and the court.

Terming the crime as a rarest of rare case, Court held:

Therefore, in light of the aforesaid settled principle, this Court has no hesitation in holding that this case falls within the category of “rarest of rare”, which merits death penalty and none else. The collective conscience of the community is so shocked by this crime that imposing alternate sentence, i.e. a sentence of life imprisonment on the accused persons would not meet the ends of justice. Rather, it would tempt other potential offenders to commit such crime and get away with the lesser/lighter punishment of life imprisonment.

The Bombay High Court judgment in the matter can be read here:download-judgment