Bombay HC upholds validity of section that provides for death penalty to repeat rape offenders

Bombay HC upholds validity of section that provides for death penalty to repeat rape offenders
The court dismissed the petitions filed by the three Shakti Mill gangrape convicts, who had challenged the constitutional validity of section 376 (e) under which they were awarded death penalty in 2014

The Bombay High Court on Monday upheld the Constitutional validity of section 376 (e), an amended section of the Indian Penal Code under which repeat offenders in rape cases can be awarded life imprisonment or death penalty.

A division bench of Justices B P Dharmadhikari and Revati Mohite Dere dismissed petitions filed by three convicts in the Shakti Mill gang rape case challenging Constitutional validity of the legal provisions under which they were sentenced to death in 2014.

Under an amendment to section 376 (e) of the IPC, repeat offenders in rape cases faced life imprisonment or a death penalty. The amendment was introduced in 2013 – a year after the gang rape of a 23-year-old woman (Nirbhaya) in Delhi.

“We are of the opinion that section 376 (e) of the IPC is not ultra vires to the Constitution and hence need not be quashed in the present case,” the court said.

The trio accused in the Shakti Mill gang rape were awarded death penalty by a Mumbai sessions court in April 2014 after the court found them guilty of two gang rapes – of a telephone operator in July 2013 and a photojournalist in August 2013.

It was the first time a death penalty was awarded to repeat offenders under section 376 (e) of the IPC.

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