In a significant verdict, the Supreme Court has sentenced RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) leader Prabhunath Singh to life imprisonment in a double murder case dating back to 1995. This decision comes after the Supreme Court reversed a previous trial court verdict that had acquitted him.
The Supreme Court has sentenced Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and former Member of Parliament (MP) Prabhunath Singh to life imprisonment in a double murder case from 1995. This verdict comes after the Supreme Court reversed a previous trial court verdict that acquitted him.
The case dates back to March 1995 when two individuals were shot dead on the day of polling for assembly elections in Chapra, Saran district. The victims were killed because they did not vote as per Prabhunath Singh’s suggestion.
A bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul convicted Prabhunath Singh, who is also a former Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), for the murders of Daroga Rai and Rajendra Rai and for attempting to kill a woman. The Supreme Court overturned the decisions of the trial court and Patna High Court, noting that it was dealing with an “exceptionally painful episode of our criminal justice system.”
It is rare, if not unprecedented, for the Supreme Court, the highest appellate court in India, to convict an individual. Typically, the court either upholds or rejects a person’s conviction for an offense on appeal.
In this case, a trial court had acquitted Prabhunath Singh in December 2008, citing a lack of evidence. The Patna High Court later upheld the acquittal in 2012. However, the brother of one of the victims challenged the acquittal in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court’s judgment emphasized that there was no doubt about Prabhunath Singh’s involvement and criticized his efforts to tamper with evidence and manipulate the prosecution process. The court also highlighted the importance of credible witnesses and the foundation of the entire prosecution case, which was the FIR (First Information Report) and a dying declaration.
The Supreme Court set aside the Patna High Court’s decision and convicted Prabhunath Singh under Section 302 (murder) for the killings of Daroga Rai and Rajendra Rai. The court directed the home secretary of Bihar and the director-general of police of the state to arrest Prabhunath Singh and produce him in custody for the sentencing hearing.
This verdict underscores the court’s commitment to ensuring justice and accountability, even in cases with a long history and complex legal proceedings.