The special court, which convicted six people in the murder case of an 8-year-old nomadic girl in Kathua in Jammu region, has termed the crime 'devilish and monstrous' committed in the most 'shameful, inhumane and barbaric manner' for which 'poetic justice' needs to be done to its perpetrators.
District and sessions court in Pathankot, hearing the matter on the direction of the Supreme Court, convicted six people on June 10 in the case which included Sanji Ram, dismissed policeman Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar, who have been sentenced to life in jail.
"Heaven and hell are no geographical locations, our thoughts, actions and character create the situation of heaven or hell for us," judge Dr Tejwinder Singh wrote in the beginning of his 432-page judgment, a copy of which is with PTI.
He said it was needless to say the commission of this 'devilish and monstrous crime has sent shockwaves across the society and the actual guilty needs to be brought under the sword of justice'.
He also observed the crime committed against the minor is 'shameful, inhumane and barbaric' but said the evidence brought on record has to be tested on a 'touchstone in order to find out the real culprits, so that no innocent person is crushed under the wheels in an unjust manner'.
After hearing prosecution lawyers, comprising S S Basra, J K Chopra, Harminder Singh and Bhupinder Singh, as also a battery of 57 defence lawyers, the judge said, "There is nothing on record which could show that there is a false implication (as contended by defence lawyers) of accused persons in this case".
The court listed 11 police cases which showed strained relations between the 'Bakarwal' (nomads) community and the local residents and took on record other statements which supported and proved the fact that there was a communal tension in the area where the crime was committed on January 10 last year.
"The Bakarwal community was apparently not accepted by the local residents of that area, which led to strained relations between the two and as such there was a strong motive behind the occurrence.
"The defence has failed to rebut this motive which apparently was behind the occurrence. As such this court is of the conclusion that there was a strong motive behind this occurrence," the judge said.
Commenting on the plea by the defence claiming the investigation as defective, the judge said the court is of the considered view that the documents are official documents on record which have been 'duly proved by the officials of different departments' on the basis of record maintained with them.
"....even otherwise this is a serious criminal trial and merely on some hyper technical objections raised by legal experts, no benefit can be given to the accused persons as this trial has to be adjudicated on the basis of detailed and consolidated evidence led by the prosecution in this case," the judgment said.
The judge, after relying on several Supreme Court judgments, said, "If at all, at any point of time, there was a minor lapse in the investigation, the benefit of the doubt cannot be given to the accused in the present trial which is very serious in nature."
Deciding on the plea raised by the defence that there was no direct evidence against any accused, the judge ruled that the court was of the opinion that in the present case the circumstances from which an inference of guilt is sought to be drawn have been cogently and firmly established.
"The circumstantial evidence led by the prosecution is definite which unerringly point out towards the guilt of the accused. The circumstances taken cumulatively from a chain so complete that there is no escape from the conclusion that within all human probability that the crime was committed by the accused and none else.
"The circumstantial evidence is complete in itself and is incapable of explanation of any other hypothesis that the of guilt of the accused and such evidence is consistent with the guilt of the accused," the judge said, adding that the circumstantial evidence led by prosecution has to be given 'due weightage in the case'.