Amroha killings: Finality of death penalty important, says SC

CJI-led Bench reserves verdict on review plea of woman who along with her lover killed 7 of her family

Amroha killings: Finality of death penalty important, says SC

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23

Noting that finality of death penalty as extremely important, the Supreme Court on Thursday said a condemned prisoner should not be under impression that it was an open-ended question.

The comments from a three-judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde have come at a time when the Centre has requested it to fix a timeframe for filing and disposal of review, curative and mercy petitions in view of inordinate delay in execution of Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case convicts.

The Bench was hearing a petition filed by Shabnam and her lover Salim – convicted of killing her parents, two brothers and their wives and strangulating her 10-month-old nephew in Bawankhedi village in Hasanpur tehsil of Amroha district of Uttar Pradesh in the intervening night of April 14-15, 2008.

Her father Shaukat Ali, mother Hashmi, brothers Anees and Rashid, sister-in-law Anjum, and cousin Rabia were all drugged by her before the duo killed them in the most brutal manner. Shabnam strangulated Anees’s 10-month-old son Arsh.

An Amroha Sessions Court had awarded death penalty to the duo in 2010 which was upheld by the Allahabad High Court. The Supreme Court had upheld their death sentence in 2015. They have sought review of the 2015 verdict.

Every criminal is said to have an innocent heart. However, we have to look into the crime committed as well.

Supreme Court

A Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justice SA Nazeer and Justice Sanjiv Khanna reserved its verdict on their petition seeking review the top court’s judgment upholding the death penalty awarded to them.

As senior advocates Anand Grover and Meenakshi Arora, representing the petitioners, submitted that the death penalty should be commuted to life imprisonment keeping in mind the possibility of their reformation, the Bench wondered if their “good behaviour” after the conviction could be considered.

“Every criminal is said to have an innocent heart. However, we have to look into the crime committed as well,” the Bench said.

Salim and Shabnam were in a relationship and wanted to get married but her family was opposed to it.

On April 14-15, 2008, Shabnam’s entire family was killed and she pretended that her house in Amroha district of UP was attacked by unidentified criminals. However, during the investigation it became clear that she conspired with Salim and accordingly her family members were given milk laced with sedatives. Once they fell asleep, they were killed by the duo and she herself throttled her 10-month-old nephew.

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