‘Was just 19’: Delhi gangrape case convict files curative petition in Supreme Court, days before hanging
Less than a fortnight before they are hanged, one of the convicts in the Delhi gangrape case has filed a curative petition in the Supreme Court. The petition has been filed by one of the convicts Vinay Sharma.
In his petition, Sharma contended that the court overlooked mitigating factors while sentencing a person to death. Young age of the convict, who was around 19 years at the time of commission of offence was an important mitigating factor which was brushed aside by the court.
The petitioner also submitted the impact his death sentence could have on his family.
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“The petitioners parents are old and extremely poor. If the petitioner is executed, his entire family will be destroyed”, Sharma said in hie petition filed through his lawyer AP Singh.
The petition also referred to various studies across the world and data by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to argue that death penalty will not have any deterrent effect on the society, one of the grounds on which he was sentenced to death.
Interestingly, the petition placed reliance on a 2016 study by Delhi-based National Law University which said that death penalty as a punishment has been disproportionately visited upon convicts from poor and marginalised sections of the society, and that it points to a systemic bias in our criminal justice system against poor and marginalised.
A Delhi Court had on January 7 issued a death warrant against four convicts in the 2012 case - Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Singh - and they are scheduled to be executed on January 22 at 7 am in the Tihar Jail premises.
After issuing the black warrant, the court gave the convicts two weeks’ time to file both the curative and mercy petition.
A curative petition is the last judicial resort available for redressal of grievances. It is a remedy established by the Supreme Court through its judgment in Rupa Asok Hurra v Ashok Hurra and is decided by the judges in-chamber. The mercy petition, on the other hand, is filed before the President who has the power to commute it to life imprisonment.
The convicts’ lawyer had said after the January 7 order that they will file curative petition in Supreme Court soon. “We will file curative petition in SC within a day or two. Five senior most judges of SC will hear it. There has been pressure of media, public and political pressure in this case since beginning. Unbiased probe could not take place in this case,” he had said.
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