Allahabad High Court Commutes Death Penalty to 30 Years for Rape-Murder Convict on Grounds of Potential Rehabilitation

In a significant legal development, the Allahabad High Court has altered the fate of Dinesh Paswan, previously sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a three-year-old girl in 2021. The Court has now commuted Paswan’s sentence to a 30-year imprisonment, citing the lack of a criminal history and the potential for his rehabilitation.

The decision came from a bench led by Justice Ashwani Kumar Mishra and Justice Syed Aftab Husain Rizvi, who found merit in the appeal against the death sentence initially imposed by the Fatehpur district court. The appeal, championed by advocate Tanisha Jahangir Monir, raised questions about the circumstantial evidence presented at trial and suggested Paswan was implicated based on mere suspicion.

During the proceedings, Monir highlighted inconsistencies in the case, particularly concerning the crime scene. The defense argued that the deceased’s body was discovered not at Paswan’s residence, as initially claimed, but at her maternal grandparents’ home, where the official inquest was conducted.

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Despite acknowledging the grave and gruesome nature of the crime, the High Court noted several mitigating factors in Paswan’s favor. At the time of his statement under Section 313 of the CrPC on December 8, 2021, Paswan was a 25-year-old married man with a child. The absence of any prior criminal record or convictions led the Court to conclude that the possibility of Paswan’s reformation should not be dismissed outright.

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