2009 Romana hit and run case:Court awards lifer to accused

Srinagar, Oct 21: Justice was finally delivered after a decade in the 2009 ‘Romana hit and run case’ in which the court Monday convicted the accused and sentenced him to imprisonment for life.

The State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) was also directed to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the mother of the victim.

 

On May 3 2009, Romana Javaid, a young female student of uptown Srinagar, was killed after being run over by a car driven by Muhammad Shoaib Darial, a youth from Nowhatta.

Shoaib had taken the extreme step as revenge from Romana for resisting to his request to chat with him.

Rejecting all defense pleas raised by the counsel for the accused Muhammad Shoaib Darial son of Muhammad Ashraf Darial, the court of Principal District and Session Judge Abdul Rashid Malik Monday observed that in view of convincing and clinching prosecution evidence, the inevitable conclusion is that prosecution has proved the charges against the accused beyond any reasonable doubt while awarding life sentence to the accused under section 302 RPC.

Romana’s father, Hakeem Javaid Shabnam, told The Kashmir Monitor that he was happy with the court’s decision.

“My daughter’s soul will be relieved today. We are happy that we finally got the justice we were fighting for years. I appreciate the role of police and the judiciary who ensured that the accused was punished for his crime,” said Hakeem.

In the historic judgment, the court observed: “therefore, in this backdrop, the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused used the vehicle as a weapon of offense and hit the deceased with all force and intention to kill her. The accused tried to run over her but the hit of the vehicle was so powerful that the deceased (Romana) blew up and fell down on the ground. The vital injuries on her head and other parts of the body proved by the doctor demonstrate that the accused had no other intention except to kill the victim to take revenge from her for not responding to his request on the chit to talk to him on his Cell Phone. Therefore, the commission of offense under section 302 is proved beyond any shadow of doubt.”

The court further observed: “From the facts of this case it is quite apparent that the victim didn’t know the accused and never made any effort to falsely implicate him at any stage. The crime was purported in broad daylight.”

While rejecting the contention of the defenses that there was no test identification parade conducted in the case, the court observed that the test identification parade is not substantive evidence. “It can only be used to corroborate statement in the Court. When the witnesses identify the accused also in the court, the evidence can’t be doubted.”

The court also rejected the pleas of the defense Counsel that there are contradictions in the prosecution story saying that “parrot like statements are dis-favoured by the courts and discrepancy has to be distinguished from contradiction.”

While awarding compensation to the mother of the victim, the Court observed that a mere punishment will not satisfy the victim who has suffered as a result of the commission of the crime and every criminal court is also under a legal duty to apply its mind to the question of compensation to the victim of the crime and directed that the State Legal Service Authority shall pay an amount of Rs 5 lakh to the mother of the victim, who at the time of the death of her daughter only saw that the deceased was moving lips and one can imagine the pain and agony which was caused to her due to the death of her daughter.

The court observed: “we live in a civilized society where law and order is supreme and the citizens enjoy in inviolable fundamental human rights. Such incidents cause ripples in the conscience of the society and serious doubts are raised as to whether we really live in a civilized society. When such incidents occur, the only succor people ask for is the state to take command of the situation and remedy it effectively.”

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About the Author

A journalist by chance with over five years of experience in reporting, editing, and bucketing local, national and international content for my current organization. I have covered education, health, politics, and human rights. I like working for a daily, though I occasionally try my pen in long-form to connect personal narratives with history.

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