NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the review petition challenging the death penalty given to Akshay Kumar, one of the convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice R Banumathi dismissed the petition and said, “The petitioner has again sought to assail the facts and findings, which cannot be permitted. Grounds raised were the same raised in previous appeals and review petitions.”
“Arguments raised have been made previously in the Supreme Court and had also been looked at during consideration of aggravating and mitigating circumstances,” the bench said.
The bench made it clear that there was no error in the judgement of the trial court, Delhi High Court and the apex court convicting the accused and awarding death sentence.
Advocate AP Singh appearing for Akshay asked for three weeks to be able to file his mercy petition before the President of India.
Opposing the request, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the time prescribed for this is one week.
But the bench said he can avail the time provided in the law to file his mercy petition.
Earlier during the hearing, Singh alleged that the sole eyewitness in the case was bribed, adding that the death of Ram Singh in Tihar was very suspicious and his client was given death penalty as he was poor.
“The air quality and water quality in Delhi/NCR is toxic and poisonous. The life span of any average person is going from short to shorter. Why execute the death penalty on anybody in a situation like this?” Singh told the court.
“The dying declaration of Nirbhaya is doubtful and cannot be relied upon. All six persons in the bus could not have raped her in just 21 minutes. She didn’t even name any of the accused in her dying declaration or mention the iron rod used by the accused,” Singh said while citing a book penned down by a retired Tihar official during the arguments.
Urging the bench to dismiss the petition, Mehta told the court, “Gods will hang their heads in shame for not being able to save Nirbhaya and creating these monsters who raped her. They should be allowed no mercy.”
During the hearing, Nirbhaya’s parents were also present in court.
A special fast-track court in Delhi, in September 2013, had ordered capital punishment for the four convicts saying the case fit the rarest of rare category. The sentence was upheld by the Delhi high court in 2014.
On December 16, 2012, a 23-year-old woman, who later came to be known as Nirbhaya, was brutally assaulted and raped by six persons in a moving bus in south Delhi, an incident which prompted nationwide protests. She died from her injuries on 29 December at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.
One of the other accused, who was a juvenile at the time of the incident, has been sent to a reform centre for three years while another, Ram Singh, was found dead in his cell in Tihar Jail in March 2013.
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