Dec 16 gang rape: Supreme Court to hear review plea of convict on December 17
A three-judge bench will hear next week the plea filed by convict Akshay Thakur, whose lawyer has questioned in the review petition the capital punishment at a time life is getting “short” due to rising pollution.Updated: Dec 13, 2019 01:36 IST
The Supreme Court on December 17 will hear the plea filed by one of the four death row convicts in the December 16 gang rape-and-murder case, who has sought a review of the court’s 2017 judgement awarding him death penalty.
A three-judge bench will hear next week the plea filed by convict Akshay Thakur, whose lawyer has questioned in the review petition the capital punishment at a time life is getting “short” due to rising pollution.
“Take notice that the following matter (Akshay’s review plea) will be listed for hearing on Tuesday the December 17, 2019 at 2pm before a three judges bench,” said a notice.
The move comes among reports that Tihar jail officials had started making arrangements to execute the four men convicted of raping and killing the 23-year-old physiotherapy student on a moving bus on December 16, 2012.
These arrangements include approaching a prison in Bihar for gallows rope, writing to other states for services of hangmen, and inspections of the courtyard as well as the equipment that will be used to carry out the execution.
“We have ordered 10 new ropes from the Buxar jail. We are making preparations so that when the time comes, everything is in place. The ropes are made in Buxar jail by prisoners. They have to be of a particular type and should not break during the hanging or cut the throat. We had some old ropes but we did not want to take a chance,” a Tihar officer had said on Wednesday.
The apex court had on July 9 last year dismissed the review pleas filed by the three other convicts — Mukesh (30), Pawan Gupta (23) and Vinay Sharma (24) — in the case saying no grounds have been made out by them for review of the 2017 verdict.
One of the accused in the case, Ram Singh, had allegedly committed suicide in the Tihar Jail.
A juvenile, who was among the accused, was convicted by a juvenile justice board. He was released from a reformation home after serving a three-year term.
Akshay’s review plea, filed through advocate AP Singh, referred to the health risks due to the rising pollution level in Delhi and said, “Life is going short to short, then why death penalty”.
“The state must not simply execute people to prove that it is attacking terror or violence against women. It must persistently work towards systematic reforms to bring about change. Executions only kill the criminal, not the crime...,” the review plea said.
The apex court in its 2017 verdict had upheld the capital punishment awarded to them by the Delhi High Court and the trial court in the case.
Akshay, lodged in Tihar jail here, has said in his review plea that death penalty entails “cold blooded killing” and it does not provide convicts the chance to reform.
The plea referred to the moral reasons for abolition of the death penalty and said there was no evidence to show that such a punishment has got a deterrent value.
It also referred to the observations of former Chief Justice of India PN Bhagwati that the convicts, hailing from poor background, are more likely to be sent to the gallows.