Review of Death Penalty XXIX
We could only appreciate thoroughness of investigation, where every step was appropriately and punctually taken and all relevant processes were methodically documented. We find criticism against Legal Aid Counsel to be unfair. Manoj Pratap Singh was rightly convicted by Trial Court and his conviction has rightly been maintained by High Court.
After final conclusion on guilt and after pronouncing conviction, no concept of ‘residual doubt’ as such is available. The heinous nature of crime definitely carries excessively aggravating circumstances, particularly when manner of commission of both rape and murder shows depravity of highest order and would ex facie shock anyone’s conscience. Taken as a whole, factors of age, family and socio-economic background are not so clinching as to overwhelm and override aggravating factors.
We may observe, probability of reformation has been given due consideration, rather extra weightage. Manoj Pratap Singh’s culpable conduct in jail compels us to ponder whether it would be realistic to believe on probability of his reformation and rehabilitation yet. We could only wonder what more of criminal activity would qualify as blemish, if not involvement and conviction in a case of murder of a fellow jail inmate! This is apart from 7 days’ punishment earned for quarrelling. The suggestions about calling for any so-called psychological evaluation could only be termed as impractical and unrealistic and could only be rejected.
– Hon’ble Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Manoj Pratap Singh v. State of Rajasthan, [SLP (Criminal) Nos. 7899-7900 of 2015].