Another Delhi gang rape case convict files curative petition in Supreme Court
Barely a few hours after one of the Delhi gang rape convicts sentenced to death, Vinay Kumar Sharma, filed a curative petition in the Supreme Court on Thursday; another convict Mukesh Singh also followed his example in a last bid to escape the hanging scheduled for January 22.
A curative petition is the last legal remedy available to a convict on death row.
On Tuesday, a Delhi court issued death warrants against Mukesh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and said they will be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in the capital’s Tihar Jail.
In his curative petition, Vinay said his young age had been wrongfully rejected as a mitigating circumstance.
“The petitioner’s socio-economic circumstances, number of dependants including ailing parents, good conduct in jail and the probability of reformation have not been adequately considered leading to gross miscarriage of justice,” the plea said.
The petition also referred to various studies across the world and data by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to argue that the death penalty would not have any deterrent effect on society, one of the grounds on which he was sentenced to death.
The plea claimed that the court had relied on factors such as “collective conscience of society” and “public opinion” in deciding the sentence to be imposed on all the convicts.
“The impugned judgment is bad in law as subsequent judgments of the apex court have definitely changed the law on death sentence in India allowing several convicts similarly placed as him to have their death sentence commuted to life imprisonment,” the plea read.
The petition said that after pronouncement of the apex court’s judgment in 2017, there have been as many as 17 cases involving rape and murder in which various three-judge benches of the top court have commuted the death sentence.
In 2012, a 23-year-old paramedic student, referred to as Nirbhaya, was gang raped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, in a moving bus in south Delhi’s Munirka by six people before being thrown out on the road.
She died on December 29, 2012 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.
On July 9, 2018, the apex court had dismissed the review petitions filed by the other three convicts in the case, saying no grounds have been made out by them for review of the 2017 verdict.
One of the six accused in the case, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail earlier.
A juvenile, who was among the accused, was convicted by a juvenile justice board and was released from a reformation centre after serving a three-year term.
The top court in its 2017 verdict had upheld the capital punishment awarded to the convicts by the Delhi High Court and the trial court.
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