On 1 January 2020, the Gujarat High Court convicted Anil Surendrasingh Yadav to death, who was accused in the 2018 rape and murder of a three- and half-year-old girl, in Surat.
Anil was convicted by a Special Court under Sections 201, 302, 363, 366, 376AB, and 377 of the Indian Penal Code, under Sections 3(a), 4, 5(a), 5(r) and 6 of the Protection of Children of Sexual Offences Act, 2012 and under Section 3(2) (5), Section 3(2) (5-A) of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
The bench headed by Justice Bela M Trivedi and Justice AC Rao upheld the conviction of the Special Court and held that ‘Such crimes not only reflect the abusive facet of human conduct but also shock the collective conscience of the society.’
On 14 October 2018, the accused who was residing in a rented accommodation of the house owned by the complainant kidnapped the minor daughter of the complainant who was aged 3 ½ years at that time. He took the victim to his room, raped her and subsequently killed her by throttling. He then put the body in a gunny bag and left it in his room to decay and decompose, while he locked and fled to his native in Bihar.
The court observed that ‘Whether the case falls within the rarest of the rare case to impose the death penalty or not is always a matter of great concern for every court. However, the aggravating circumstances proved beyond a reasonable doubt like the acts of the accused in kidnapping a young girl of 3 ½ years, committing rape in her helpless and unprotected condition, and then brutally murdering her and then fleeing away to Bihar, leaving the dead body in the locked house to decay and decompose, with no repentance or remorse after the commission of a crime, overweigh the mitigating circumstances like no criminal antecedents of the accused or no evidence to suggest that he cannot be reformed.”
The bench further referred to various Supreme Court judgments which upheld the death sentence for the cases of similar circumstances. In Dhananjoy Chatterjee alias Dhana V. State of West Bengal, the apex court observed and upheld the death penalty when to the accused who was the security guard, raped and murdered a young girl stating the offense as not only inhuman and barbaric but was also totally ruthless crime of rape followed by cold-blooded murder and an affront to human dignity of the society.