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Ex-Delhi HC judge on the Priyadarshini Mattoo case verdict

October 06, 2010 12:20 IST

The Delhi high court judge, who had awarded death penalty to Santosh Kumar Singh in the Priyadarshini Mattoo case, on Wednesday said that he did not view the Supreme Court's decision of commuting the sentence as a failure of judicial system as apex court judges are 'wiser'.

"It is all right if the Supreme Court says that the case does not deserve the maximum punishment (death penalty). The apex court judges are wiser and they have profound knowledge of law," Justice R S Sodhi, who is now retired, told PTI.

The former judge of the high court said the SC judges did not concur with his findings that the case fell under the rarest of rare category, warranting imposition of death penalty.

"I don't view it as a failure of the judicial system. On the contrary, one must understand that the Supreme Court consists of very wise judges with people having sound knowledge of law. They have held that my opinion that this case fell in the rarest of rare category is wrong," he said.

The judge, who had handled several high-profile cases, including three sensational murder cases -- Jessica Lall, Naina Sahni (Tandoor) and Priyadarshini Mattoo -- retired on November 7, 2007.

"Personally, there is nothing for me to be happy or sad about it but since the Supreme Court upheld that conviction adjudicated by the Delhi High Court, I feel satisfied," Justice Sodhi said.

"It is not only my judgement which has been upheld but it is rule of law which has been upheld by the apex court," he said.

Justice Sodhi, the 13th descendant of Sikh Guru Ram Das (founder of the Golden Temple of Amritsar), was appointed to the high court from the Supreme Court bar in July 1999.

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