Pronouncing imprisonment till death to an autorickshaw driver and his accomplice in connection with the murder of a Dhanbad Court Judge last year, a special CBI Court in its order said “such culprit needs to be kept behind bar till the end of his life”.
CBI court judge Rajni Kant Pathak on July 28 held autorickshaw driver Lakhan Verma and his associate Rahul Verma guilty of murdering 49-year-old additional sessions judge Uttam Anand Observing that “nobody can think that a judge of Jharkhand judiciary would be murdered in such a way. This incident shook not only the entire judicial fraternity of the country but on the citizen at mass level,” the Speical CBI Court Judge Rajni Kant Pathak said a ‘lenient view’ in the case was ruled out.
Additional Sessions Judge, Dhanbad, Anand was hit by a heavy autorickshaw on July 28 last year at Randhir Verma Chowk close to district court while he was on morning jog at around 5 am. He died on the same day.
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The Special CBI court in its order observed that after such an incident there was an atmosphere of fear among the family members of judicial officers and people who were compelled to think if this could happen to a judge how safe were ordinary citizens.
There is provision for only two punishments for murder – One for life and another for hanging (capital punishment), the Judge observed. However, he pointed out, that going by the decisions of the apex Court the case does not come under the purview of rarest of the rare and in his order said “in my opinion if convicts are awarded life imprisonment, he may be released from custody after 14 years or so, according (to) Jail Manual.” The order therefore said: “But to the mind of this court such culprit needs to be kept behind bar till the end of his life. If released, it would send a wrong massage to society particularly those who witnessed such type of incident. Also they may commit the same offence again having no respect and regard for human life and law of the land.” “As observed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court life imprisonment without any remission till last breath can be imposed as substitution of death sentence. Accordingly, convicts Lakhan Kumar Verma and Rahul Kumar Verma are hereby sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life without any remission and commutation till last breath along with fine of Rs 20,000 for each convicts for the offence punishable u/s 302/34 of the IPC and in default of fine, the convicts aforesaid shall undergo simple imprisonment for one year,” the order said.
The convicts were further sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for seven years with fine of Rs 10,000 each for the offence under sections 201/34 of the IPC and in default of fine simple imprisonment for six months.
Both the sentences shall run concurrently, but the fines shall be recovered separately, the order said adding that half of the amount of fines recovered shall be paid to the family members of the deceased u/s 357 (1) (b) Cr.P.C. as compensation.
It said the compensation from fine amount does not seem adequate, specially when the victims are widow wife and minor children of the deceased late Judge Uttam Anand and added that victim “Kritee Sinha (informant) and the victim children of deceased should be compensated adequately u/s 357A Cr.P.C and under Victim Compensation Scheme of Jharkhand Government as the deceased was a sitting judge working under Jharkhand Government.”