Supreme Court announces lifetime imprisonment to the Former MP Double murder case
Ia significant judicial judgement, the Supreme Cour on Friday delivered a life imprisonment sentence to Prabhunath Singh, a prominent leader of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and a former Member of Parliament (MP).
This verdict came in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn the trial court’s acquittal of Singh in a double murder case from 1995.
The top court has issued a directive for Prabhunath Singh and the Bihar government to provide financial compensation. They are instructed to pay Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the two deceased victims and Rs 5 lakh to an injured victim.
This comes after a gruesome incident that occurred during the assembly elections in Chapra, Saran district, in March 1995, where two individuals lost their lives. Their deaths were a result of their failure to vote in accordance with Prabhunath Singh’s recommendations.
The conviction was delivered by a bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and it involved Prabhunath Singh, a former Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), being found guilty of the murders of Daroga Rai and Rajendra Rai. Additionally, he was convicted for attempting to kill a woman. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the rulings of both the trial court and the Patna High Court was made with the recognition that this case represented an “exceptionally painful episode of our criminal justice system.”
It is worth noting that it is a rare occurrence, if not unprecedented, for the Supreme Court, the highest appellate court in the country, to personally convict an individual. Typically, the court either upholds or dismisses a person’s conviction on appeal.
In December 2008, a trial court had acquitted Prabhunath Singh, citing a lack of evidence, a decision that the Patna High Court subsequently upheld in 2012. However, the acquittal was contested by Rajendra Rai’s brother, leading to the case’s appearance before the Supreme Court.
The bench, in its comprehensive 143-page judgement, asserted, “In the case with which we are dealing, there is no iota of doubt that the accused-respondent no.2 (Singh) was instrumental in making all possible efforts to wipe out the evidence against him, and the prosecution machinery, as well as the presiding officer of the trial court, if we may say so, was used as a tool of his highhandedness.”