The Supreme Court has dismissed the review petition filed by three of the four convicts against the death penalty awarded to them in the gangrape and murder case of a 23-year-old paramedic student on 16 December 2012. A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan on Monday upheld the death sentence awarded to Mukesh , Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma while dismissing their plea to change the capital punishment to life imprisonment. The fourth death-row convict, Akshay Kumar Singh (31), had not filed a review petition against the apex court’s 5 May 2017 order.
The capital punishment was first awarded to the convicts by the trial court and it was confirmed by the Delhi High Court. The apex court in its 2017 verdict had upheld the death sentence. Earlier on May 4, the Supreme Court had reserved its verdict on the review petition filed by the convicts.
Referring to the Puranas and Vedas, convict Vinay Sharma’s counsel pleaded that “death penalty is a cold way of killing a human being. Extrusion kills the criminal, not the crime. Death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights”.
The counsel quoted Justice PN Bhagwati who said “it is the poor who faces such denial of human rights; never an elite witnesses such a denial”.
“The conduct of the petitioner exhibits reforms. In a death penalty case, not only the nature of the crime but the background of the criminal should be seen. The UNO has banned death penalty,” he had argued.
Reserving its order, the bench directed the counsel for GNCTD to file its written statement and a note on the rarest of rare case. The bench asked senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, representing Delhi Police, and lawyer AP Singh, counsel for Vinay and Pawan, to file their written submissions.
The paramedical student was gangraped on the intervening night of 16-17 December 2012, inside a moving bus in South Delhi by a gang of six persons and severely assaulted before being thrown out on the road naked. She succumbed to her injuries on 29 December 2012, at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. Another accused in the Nirbhaya case, Ram Singh, had allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail, while a convicted juvenile has come out of the reformation home after serving a three-year term.