The father of Delhi [ Images ] University law student Priyadarshini Mattoo, who was raped and then killed by Santosh Kumar Singh nearly 14 years ago, on Wednesday expressed dissatisfaction over the commuting of the death penalty to life term.
"I am not satisfied with the sentence. This can be discussed only by the legal experts as it is quite evident that even the Supreme Court has upheld the verdict of the Delhi High Court," Chaman Lal Mattoo said.
The CBI counsel, however, hailed the outcome of the 14-year-old-case saying, "the probe agency is satisfied as the verdict of the Delhi High Court has been upheld."
Observing that the high and mighty convicts manage to come out early despite being sentenced to life term, the victim's father said, "It is not clear as to what would be the duration of the imprisonment."
There have been various instances where the convicts have managed to come out, he said, adding, "This is the danger. The case has not met the right treatment by the apex court."
He expressed gratitude to the civil society for its support in fighting the cause of justice.
Mattoo's lawyer Ashok Bhan said that he would file a review or curative petition seeking enhancement of the punishment after going through the verdict.
"He was not an ordinary criminal and, therefore, it (case) was the rarest of rare category," he said.
Bhan also termed the judgment as a "setback" to Mattoo's family.
Indu Jalali, one of the few Kashmiri Pandits who spearheaded the campaign to secure justice for Priyadarshini Mattoo, too was disappointed with the judgment.
"I am a bit disappointed because Santosh Singh had snatched the life of a young and vibrant Kashmiri woman, who had just entered her twenties. He deserved capital punishment. I guess the court went through the merits of the case and decided to convert death sentence into a life term. At least he would remain behind bars -- that is the only consolation for us. The highest court of the land has held him guilty," she said.
Woman journalist Aasha Khosa, first woman to report from the Kashmir [ Images ] valley and who currently looks after Focus Television Channel for women, said: "It is better that such persons rot in jail then being hanged."
Rahul Jalali, former president of the Press Club of India [ Images ], said the judgment is a big let down for CL Mattoo. "Considering the fact that the manner in which Santosh Singh raped and murdered Priyadarshini and how CL Mattoo ran from pillar to post to seek justice for his daughter, it is a big let down."
Additional Iputs: PTI