The court, pronouncing the judgment on Wednesday, also imposed a fine of Rs 75,000 on the convict. The fine amount would be given to the girl’s family and the court also recommended compensation through the district legal service authority (DLSA).
The sentence is typically awarded in the rarest of rare cases as the convict has no possibility of remission.
In 2015, the SC had observed in an order that in “very few” cases, death penalty can be substituted for imprisonment for life beyond remission.
On December 26, the girl had taken the family’s goats for grazing on the Aravali hills, but she didn’t return that day. Her family found her body on a hill top the next day, with a dupatta tied around her neck. A case was registered at the Ferozpur Jhirka police station on December 27 under IPC Section 6 (sexual assault) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, and sections 302 (murder) and 379B (snatching).
The autopsy concluded she was raped and strangled with the dupatta. The special investigation team (SIT) formed to probe the case found CCTV footage that showed a man carrying a white goat, apparently the same one that the girl had taken out for grazing on the day of the incident. The accused was then identified as Mukeem, a resident of Neemli village of Alwar, and he was arrested on December 30. During the hearings, the counsel for the accused argued there weren’t any eyewitnesses and the prosecution’s case was dependent on circumstantial evidence that didn’t connect the sequence of events.
To this, public prosecutor Akash Tanwar said there was sufficient forensic and circumstantial evidence that linked Mukeem with the crime.
“The autopsy report proved rape and murder by strangling. Plus, the DNA samples of the accused were found in the post-mortem examination, and he was also captured in CCTV footage carrying one of the goats of the family,” said Tanwar.
Sanjeev Jain, who assisted the state in this case, said the accused was linked to the crime with the help of CCTV, medical reports and DNA sample.
Additional sessions judge Narender Pal, hearing the case in a fast-track court for trial of POSCO offences, observed that medical evidence proved Mukeem sexually assaulted the girl and that he was present in the area on the day of the crime.