The Supreme Court of India directed the review petitions against the judgment Manoharan v. State by Inspector of Police. The fact of the case was the accused involved in gang rape of a ten-year-old girl and thereafter murdering her and her brother. Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Surya Kant had upheld the death penalty and Justice Sanjiv Khanna had expressed his dissent against upholding death sentence. The bench had affirmed the conviction of the accused Manoharan for offenses punishable under Sections 302, 376 (f) (g) and 201 of the Indian Penal Code. The bench also observed that there can be no hard rule of not awarding death in cases based on circumstantial evidence owing to recent developments in medical science and the possibility of abuse by seasoned criminals.
Justice Surya Kant observed that the said view is unsupported in view of judgments in Devender Pal Singh v. State of NCT of Delhi and also in Krishna Mochi v. State of Bihar. Further, even sans the aforesaid decisions, we are not inclined to accept such reasoning for it is contrary to the established jurisprudence of precedents and interpretation of verdicts with multiple opinions. It is settled in law that dissenting opinions have little precedential value and that there is no difference in operation between decisions rendered unanimously or those tendered by majority, albeit with minority dissenting views. The bench also observed that there can be no hard rule of not awarding death in cases based on circumstantial evidence owing to recent developments in medical science and the possibility of abuse by seasoned criminals. Read more legal judgment in India
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