2012 Delhi gangrape convicts a step closer to gallows after SC upholds death penalty

A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said the petitions did not disclose any grounds for invoking its review jurisdiction, paving the way for the hanging of Mukesh, Vinay Sharma and Pawan.

delhi Updated: Jul 10, 2018 00:05 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
delhi gangrape case verdict,December 16 gangrape verdict,gangrape verdict sc
A three-judge bench delivered its judgment on the pleas of Mukesh (left), Vinay Sharma (centre) and Pawan Gupta.(HT FIle Photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed petitions by three death row convicts in the December 16, 2012 gang-rape and murder case seeking a review of its May 2017 judgment upholding the death penalty awarded to them.

The infamous case in which a 23-year-old paramedical student lost her life after being brutally gang-raped in a moving bus in the Capital had led to an unprecedented public outcry over crimes against women and catalysed sweeping changes in the laws covering sexual assault.

A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said the petitions did not disclose any grounds for invoking its review jurisdiction, paving the way for the hanging of Mukesh, Vinay Sharma and Pawan. The review petition of the fourth convict, Akshay, is yet to be heard. “The submission having been noted, considered and dealt with by this court in the judgment (of May), the petitioners cannot be allowed to reagitate the same issue again and again,” the bench declared.

Justices R Bhanumathi and Ashok Bhushan were other members of the bench. Monday’s judgment was authored by Justice Bhushan. Reading out the verdict, Justice Bhushan said review jurisdiction could be exercised only if there were glaring omissions or patent mistakes leading to miscarriage of justice.

The victim’s parents were present in the court. After the judgment, the mother said: “This decision reaffirms our trust in the court.” She later told the media outside the court: “Our struggle will continue to secure justice for the daughters of our society.”

The court also rejected the plea that capital punishment should be abolished in the country. It referred to the argument of the petitioner’s counsel on abolition of the death penalty and said, “So far the death penalty remains in the penal code and the courts cannot be held to commit any illegality in awarding death penalty in appropriate cases.”

The convicts now have the option to file a curative petition before the top court. Such pleas are dealt with by judges in-chamber and decided through circulation, without any hearing. As the last step, they can approach the President with a mercy plea to pardon them.

The Supreme Court had on May 5, 2017, upheld a Delhi high court verdict confirming death penalty to Mukesh Kumar (29), Pawan Kumar (22), Vinay Sharma (23), and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) for raping and murdering the student.

The woman was returning home along with a friend after watching a movie when she was assaulted by six men, including a juvenile. One of the accused, Ram Singh, committed suicide in jail. The juvenile, sent to an observation home for three years, was rehabilitated on his release.

First Published: Jul 09, 2018 23:49 IST