Nirbhaya rape-murder convict files curative plea in SC

Nirbhaya rape-murder convict files curative plea in SC

The top court had already dismissed review petitions of the four convicts. Photo/AFP

One of four Nirbhaya case convicts, Vinay Sharma, on Thursday filed a curative petition in the Supreme Court against the judgement upholding the death penalty awarded to him in the 2012 gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old girl here.

A trial court had issued the death warrant against all the four, fixing the date of their hanging on January 22.

As his last available legal recourse, he filed the curative petition in the top court, contending several mitigating factors like his young age, social circumstances, the possibility of reformation, have not been considered by the top court in confirming the punishment.

“A total of 91 cases of death sentence in rape and murder have been commuted to life imprisonment. In this context, executing the petitioner would amount to a travesty of justice, as other individuals, who are similarly placed, have been spared the noose, but the petitioner is being made to suffer death,” his plea stated.

He also claimed the apex court had erroneously fallen back on deterrence as the reason which justified the death penalty.

Among others, he said, “There has been no judicial response to explain as to why the alternative of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole until the exhaustion of natural life is unquestionably foreclosed.”

The curative petition was evolved by the SC in 2002 through its judgement in Rupa Ashok Hurra Vs Ashok Hurra (2002) wherein it can cure “gross miscarriage of justice” and “abuse of the process of law” after the dismissal of the review petition.

The paramedic student was gang-raped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 in a moving bus in south Delhi by six persons. She had succumbed to her injuries on December 29, 2012, at a hospital in Singapore. While one accused, Ram Singh, had died in jail, another accused, a minor convict, was released after being kept in an observation home.

The top court had already dismissed review petitions of the remaining four convicts. The incident had triggered massive outrage across the country, forcing the then government to pass the Criminal (Amendment) Act, 2013 bringing death penalty as the maximum punishment in rape cases.

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