Mumbai, Sep 21 (IANS) The Bombay High Court Saturday directed a fresh hearing on the death penalty awarded by a trial court to a Pune bus driver who killed nine pedestrians and injured another 37 in January 2012.
A division bench of Justice P.V. Hardas and Justice P.N. Deshmukh held that the driver, Santosh Mane, was not heard by the trial court on the sentencing.
Now, the Pune trial court has been directed to hear the convict to the extent of his arguments on the point of sentence Oct 15.
The high court judges' ruling came during the hearing on an appeal filed by Mane against his conviction and proceedings for the confirmation of death penalty.
Sending the matter back to the trial court, the judges said that it would be proper and just if the convict was heard on the issue of punishment.
After the Oct 15 hearing, the Pune trial court will decided on the quantum of the sentence to be awarded to the convict.
On April 8, Mane was given the death sentence by the trial court that ruled that the crime committed by him fell in "the rarest of rare" category.
He was was fully aware of the consequences of his act and had not dashed any building but targeted the commoners, the trial court said.
Mane Jan 25, 2012 hijacked a bus of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corp from the Swargate depot and sped off on the busy road, resulting in the casualties and injuries.
He was found guilty under Indian Penal Code provisions dealing with murder, attempt to murder, theft and voluntarily causing hurt.