The Supreme Court (SC) upheld the life sentence instead of a death sentence to Rabindra Kumar Pal alias Dara Singh for the murder of Graham Stuart Staines and his two sons, aged ten and five, by burning them while they were asleep. Staines was a missionary working in the tribal areas of Orissa. The Court noted: “Whether a case falls within the rarest of rare cases or not, has to be examined with reference to the facts and circumstances of each case and the Court has to take note of the aggravating as well as mitigating circumstances and conclude whether there was something uncommon about the crime which renders the sentence of imprisonment for life inadequate and calls for death sentence.”
The fact that Staines was spreading his Christian faith through religious conversion of poor Tribals the Court deemed sufficiently aggravating. That Dara Singh burnt to death Staines and his two children because he wanted “to teach a lesson” to Staines the Court found sufficiently mitigating. The Court in its wisdom therefore rejected the death sentence.
I thank the Supreme Court for clearing my mind. I had often wondered what would have happened had Hitler survived the war. Now I think I know. Hitler it may be recalled was very critical of the Jews because they dabbled in international trade, became affluent, dominated the German economy, and in Hitler’s eyes diminished German national interest. Before the war even Mahatma Gandhi advised the Jews to show greater concern for German national sentiment. Apparently they did not. So to teach the Jews a lesson Hitler gassed six million to death.
Considering the aggravating and mitigating circumstances of the case, would Hitler have been sentenced to death or given a life sentence? Thanks to the Supreme Court, I think now I know.