New Delhi: Supreme Court of India, on Friday, commuted the sentence of BA Umesh alias Umesh Reddy, who was on death row for rape and murder, to life imprisonment.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India U U Lalit commuted the sentence taking into account the illegal solitary confinement of Umesh for 10 years.
Umesh had filed a plea in the Supreme Court contending that he was kept in solitary confinement in “Andheri Block” from 2006 till 2016. This was a violation of the Supreme Court’s judgment in Sunil Batra vs. Delhi Administration & Ors (1978) 4 SCC 494, the petitioner argued.
After hearing the matter the apex court observed: “Having considered the entirety of matter, in our view, the impact of solitary confinement were obviously evident in the instant case… The incarceration in solitary confinement thus did show ill effects on the well-being of the appellant. In the backdrop of these features of the matter, in our view, the appellant is entitled to have the death sentence imposed upon him to be commuted to death sentence to life.”
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Further, the court introduced a rider. It said: “If any application for remission is moved on his behalf, the same shall be considered on its own merits only after he has undergone actual sentence of 30 years. If no remission is granted, it goes without saying that as laid down by this Court in Gopal Vinayak Godse vs. State of Maharashtra, the sentence of imprisonment for life shall mean till the remainder of his life.”
Umesh Reddy, a former police constable was convicted of rape and murder of a housewife. In 2006, a Sessions Court in Bengaluru had sentenced him to death. In 2011, Supreme Court also upheld awarding of the death sentence. President of India rejected his mercy petition, after which he moved a writ petition in Karnataka High Court challenging it. After the High Court dismissed his petition, he moved the Supreme Court.
(With inputs from Live Law)