Nirbhaya gang rape: Supreme Court to decide on death sentence, Monday

Nirbhaya gang rape: Supreme Court to decide on death sentence, Monday

India's Supreme Court has rejected a petition seeking to overturn the death sentences of three men convicted of the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student in Delhi.

On Monday, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan said the SC had heard appeals filed by the accused against the Delhi HC verdict for 38 days, giving them ample opportunity to raise all possible grounds in their defence, which were minutely considered by the apex court before delivering its verdict on May 5 past year.

The apex court had earlier granted three weeks time to the fourth convict, Akshay, to file his review petition in the case.

Mentioning that there are no grounds to reconsider the 2017-SC verdict, the Court also stated that reviews can be sought only when there are apparent errors resulting in miscarriage of justice and that the convicts cannot use the review petition to re-argue the case.

The court said that it saw no grounds to review the death sentences confirmed on appeal past year, the last barrier to the men's execution.

The woman was gangraped on the intervening night of 16-17 December 2012 inside a running bus in South Delhi by six persons and severely assaulted before being thrown out on the road.

Ms Singh was dumped on the streets 45 minutes later and died from her internal injuries 13 days after the attack in a Singapore hospital.

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On May 5 previous year, the top court had upheld the death penalty to the four convicts.

Dismissing the three convicts' pleas, a bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said, "There is no new material to review our order".

A panel entrusted with reviewing legislation boosted the jail terms to 20 years for rape despite rejecting public appeals for the death penalty. However, the convicts still have judicial redressal for a re-examination of the dismissal of their appeals and review pleas by way of a curative petition, which is the last legal remedy left for curing the defects, if any, in a judgment.

The Indian chapter of the Amnesty International said procedural and institutional reforms are needed to curb the crimes against women.

The main accused in the case, Ram Singh, had allegedly committed suicide in Delhi's Tihar Jail in 2013. There is no evidence to show that death penalty acts as a deterrent for sexual violence or any other crime.

The case led to the introduction of the death sentence for raping girls under 12. The Court had reserved its judgement in the matter on May 4 this year after hearing the arguments on behalf of the convicts.