The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear a review petition against the acquittal of three death row convicts in the 2012 Chhawala gang-rape and murder case, reported the Bar and Bench.

In November, the court had acquitted three men – Ravi Kumar, Rahul and Vinod – who were given the death penalty by a trial court in February 2014 for the gangrape and murder of a 19-year-old woman in Delhi’s Chhawala area.

The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice of India UU Lalit, Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Bela M Trivedi had cancelled the Delhi High Court ruling that upheld the trial court judgement.

In December 2022, the parents of the woman had filed a plea seeking a review of the judgement, however, the Supreme Court refused to list the matter urgently.

The latest plea to urgently list the matter was filed after a new criminal case was filed against Vinod for the murder of an auto-driver.

“An 18 year old was raped, mutilated, killed,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Delhi government, said on Wednesday. “There were objects inserted in private parts. Death penalty was awarded by the Delhi High Court and trial court. This court acquitted them. We sought a review. After review, one of the accused slit throat of someone else. They’re hardened criminals. We request an open court hearing.”

Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud then agreed to constitute a bench to hear the matter.

The case

On February 9, 2012, the teenage girl was abducted while she was returning home from her work place by the three men. The police later found a mutilated body of the girl near Rewari in Haryana on February 14. The autopsy report of the body found that she was assaulted, raped and acid was poured on her eyes, reported Live Law.

According to the police, one of the accused men had committed the crime to take revenge after she had turned down his proposal.

However, the Supreme Court while acquitting the accused men, had said that the prosecution was unable to prove its case with respect to the arrest of the men, their identification and the recovery of incriminating material.

The court had said that no test identification parade had been carried out during the investigation and that a witness had not identified the accused persons.

“Every case has to be decided by the courts strictly on merits and in accordance with law without being influenced by any kind of outside moral pressures,” a bench headed by former Chief Justice of India UU Lalit had said.

The parents of the woman, in the review petition against the acquittal, had claimed that many crucial facts had not been brought to the Supreme Court’s attention. They had also contended that DNA proof and evidence from the test identification parade of the accused persons had been wrongly interpreted by the Supreme Court, India Today reported.

The petition had said that the mobile phone location of one of the men – and blood stains on his clothes – proved his involvement in the crime.