National News

Death sentence in Delhi 2012 gangrape and murder case flawed, says Supreme Court amicus curiae

Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran said the trial court's judgment had six fundamental mistakes.

The amicus curiae in the December 2012 Delhi gangrape case has urged the Supreme Court to strike down the death sentence verdict to three men convicted in the case, The Hindu reported. Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran listed six fundamentals mistakes in the trial court judgment. An amicus curiae is a party who is not involved in the case but gives expert testimony when asked by the court.

Ramachandran said the court had not given the convicts the chance to state any mitigating circumstances – socio-economic conditions, mental health, etc – that might have helped avoid the death sentence, neither were they heard in person on the verdict. He added that the convicts were not given enough notice to reflect on the death sentence awarded to them. He also stated that the trial court refrained from giving individual reasons for awarding the death sentence to the convicts, and had decided to go with a “one penalty fits all” verdict instead.

“In other words, there was no individualised or personalised hearing or application of mind on the question of sentence,” Ramachandran said in his report submitted before the apex court.

Six men, including a juvenile, were convicted of raping and killing a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus on December 16, 2012. She had died in a Singapore hospital on December 29. In March 2013, one of those convicted, Ram Singh, had hanged himself inside Tihar jail. Another accused Vinay Sharma had tried to commit suicide inside the prison in August. Sharma, along with two other convicts, had then moved the apex court against the trial court's death sentence. The juvenile convict was released last December after he served three years in a reformation home under the earlier Juvenile Justice Act.

The gangrape had triggered country-wide protests and demands to ensure better safety for women in India. The outrage had forced the government to introduce new laws on rape.

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