Maharashtra Sisters Who Killed Children Get Life Imprisonment

The two women's sentences were reduced by a bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and SV Kotwal

Anjali Lavania
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The Bombay High Court commuted the Maharashtra sisters' death sentence to life imprisonment. Kolhapur court found them guilty of kidnapping 14 children and killing five of them during the years 1990 and 2006. They are identified as Renuka Shinde and Seema Gavit.

The two women's sentences were reduced by a bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and SV Kotwal. The Centre had caused unnecessary delays in carrying out their death sentences, infringing on their fundamental rights.

The court highlighted that government officials, notably those in the state administration, had acted casually.  They delayed protocol despite knowing the gravity of the matter and failed to carry out the women's death sentences despite the President's rejection of their mercy applications over seven years ago.

Punishment Reduced For Maharashtra Sisters Death Sentence To Life Imprisonment

The Maharashtra government has been delaying the processing of documentation relating to the imprisoned women's compassion pleas, as well as a spate of mercy petitions filed on their behalf by others.

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According to the bench, state prison officials failed to follow protocol in notifying convicts about the status of their pleas, while state government officials delayed delivering vital documents to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

The court stated that "despite the fact that the procedure for deciding mercy petitions demands speed and expediency, the state's structure has displayed carelessness and laziness at each and every level."

The High Court noted in its conclusion that the Supreme Court had maintained the women's conviction and death sentence for kidnapping 14 children and killing five of them. Their petition for compassion was dismissed by India's President in 2014.

The High Court went on to add that, while the state was supposed to serve society's interests in a criminal justice system, it had not only violated the two convicts' constitutional rights, but it had also "failed the innocent victims of a horrific crime" in this case.

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Bombay High Court Justice Nitin Jamdar Justice SV Kotwal Maharashtra sisters Renuka Shinde Seema Gavit