Nirbhaya convicts take fourth of six steps to gallows

Charlene Craig
July 10, 2018

The apex court had in 2017 upheld the death penalty awarded to the four convicts by the Delhi High Court after which three of them - Mukesh (29), Pawan Gupta (22) and Vinay Sharma (23), had filed a review petition.

The apex court had earlier granted three weeks time to the fourth convict, Akshay, to file his review petition in the case. It said in a review petition the petitioner can not be allowed to re-argue merits of the case by pointing out certain evidences and materials, which were on the record and were already looked into by the trial court, HC and this court as well.

On December 16, 2012, 23-year-old Jyoti Singh, a paramedic student, was gangraped in a moving bus in New Delhi by six men including a juvenile. The youngest of the accused was days short of his 18th birthday and was sent to a juvenile home, where he served a three-year term.

"The submission of (A P) Singh that death penalty has been abolished by the Parliament of United Kingdom in the year 1966 and several Latin American countries, and Australian states have also abolished death penalty, is no ground to efface death penalty from the statute book of our country", Justice Bhushan, writing the judgement for the bench, said while rejecting the review pleas filed by Vinay and Pawan.

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Four of the men were convicted in September 2013 for murder, gang-rape, theft, conspiracy and "unnatural acts" after a seven-month trial in a fast-track court.

They have now exhausted all their legal options but can still file a mercy petition before India's president.

The defendants" lawyer A. P. Singh "injustice" had been meted out to his clients under "political and media pressure'.

There were some 40,000 rapes reported in India in 2016, according to the most recent official figures available. It also put focus on the increasing number of crimes involving juveniles, bringing about change that would see them tried as adults under specific circumstances.

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This included the attack on an eight-year-old girl from a Muslim nomadic community in January. She succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital, triggering huge protests across the country.

Sentencing the four in 2013, Judge Yogesh Khanna said the case fell into the "rarest of rare category" which justifies capital punishment in India.

May 2017: The Supreme Court upholds the high court's decision to give them death sentences.

Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh, who have always pleaded their innocence, had challenged last year's ruling that upheld their death sentence.

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"The convicts must be immediately hanged to death", he said.

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