Punjab Court Awards Death Penalty to Woman for Burying Neighbour's Toddler Alive

Punjab Court sentences woman to death for burying neighbor's toddler alive, citing heinous nature of crime.

In a case that has shocked the nation with its brutality, a Punjab Court has handed down the death penalty to a 32-year-old woman, Neelam, for the heinous act of burying her neighbour's 2-year-old daughter alive. The motive behind this barbaric crime was reportedly rooted in jealousy and an inferiority complex harbored by Neelam towards the child's family.

Neelam's actions were described in chilling detail by the Court, which noted that she stuffed sand into the mouth of the innocent child before callously burying her alive in a pre-dug pit at a deserted location. The Court emphasized the absence of any fault on the child's part or provocation from her side, highlighting the "brutal and abnormal mindset" of the perpetrator.

The severity of the crime led the Sessions Judge Munish Singal to categorize it as a "rarest of the rare case." Judge Singal expressed profound dismay, stating, "There cannot be more graver, heinous and barbaric crime than burying alive a girl of tender age of 2-3/4 years who must not have understood the acts of her next-door neighbour."

The Court emphasized the gravity of the offense, especially considering the intimate relationship between the perpetrator and the victim. Neelam's calculated actions, which involved luring the child away from the safety of her home and brutally ending her life, were deemed to warrant the strongest possible judicial response as a deterrent against such atrocities.

Furthermore, the judge asserted that Neelam's conduct indicated a complete lack of remorse or redeemable human values. Her premeditated plan to inflict harm on an innocent and defenseless child showcased a chilling disregard for basic humanity and shattered the trust of the community in which she lived.

The legal proceedings against Neelam began with an FIR filed in 2021 under sections 364 (kidnapping with intent to kill) and later expanded to include sections 302 (punishment for murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offense) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Despite the absence of direct evidence, the prosecution built a compelling case based on circumstantial evidence, including the "last seen theory," CCTV footage, and mobile tower locations placing Neelam at the scene of the crime.

The pivotal piece of evidence against Neelam was her extra-judicial confession to a family friend, Gurpreet Singh, wherein she admitted to burying the child alive as a means of retaliation against the victim's family. While acknowledging the inherent limitations of such confessions, the Court deemed Neelam's confession credible and admissible, citing precedent cases that underscored the evidentiary value of voluntary confessions.

Based on a thorough examination of the evidence and Neelam's confession, the Court found her guilty of kidnapping, murder, and tampering with evidence. The severity of the crime, coupled with Neelam's lack of remorse and potential for rehabilitation, led the Court to conclude that the case fell within the category of "rarest of rare cases."

The Court's decision to impose the death penalty was driven by a recognition of the profound impact of the crime on both the victim's family and society as a whole. Anything less than the most stringent punishment, the Court argued, would constitute a grave injustice and undermine the collective conscience of society.