India

Nirbhaya Case: Supreme Court Upholds Death Penalty The court dismissed the review petition filed by three of the four convicts to reduce their death sentence to a life term

@anirbanroy

INDIA’s top court has upheld the death penalty for the Delhi bus rapists in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case, dismissing the review petition filed by three of the four convicts to reduce their death sentence to a life term.

The Supreme Court dismissed the review petition filed by convicts Pawan Gupta, Mukesh Singh and Vinay Sharma. The fourth, Akshay Kumar Singh, did not file a review petition against the top court’s judgment which in May 2017 had upheld the death sentence issued by the Delhi High Court.

One of the six accused, Ram Singh, had committed suicide inside the jail in 2013 and the youngest accused, a minor at the time of the crime, was released from a juvenile correction home after serving a three-year term in 2015.

The December 16, 2012, gang-rape and subsequent death of 23-year-old Nirbhaya, a name given to the victim by the media, led to significant changes in laws governing women’s safety in India.

Large-scale protests by people, women’s organisations and the daily national and international media coverage of the crime and the investigation forced the government to appoint commissions to look into issues of women’s safety and India’s lawmakers to enact strict laws against rape and sexual crimes.

The convicts can now file a curative petition in the top court pleading for commutation of the death sentence. If the Supreme Court rejects their plea, then their last option will be to appeal for mercy to the President of India.

The family of Nirbhaya has welcomed the order of the Supreme Court but were unhappy with the ‘slow pace’ of the process.

“Our struggle does not end here. Justice is getting delayed. It’s affecting other daughters of the society”, Asha Devi, the mother of Nirbhaya, told reporters outside the court after the verdict was delivered.

Badrinath Singh, the girl’s father, said that they were confident that the petition will be dismissed. And told reporters waiting outside the court: “I believe sooner they’re hanged, better it is.”

However, AP Singh, the counsel for the three convicts said that the verdict has come under pressure and that “injustice has been done to the children (convicts).”

#NirbhayaVerdict: What They Said

PP Chaudhary, junior minister for law and justice

Meenakshi Lekhi, BJP lawmaker

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