One of the men convicted of gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedical student in Delhi in December 2012 was not present in the bus where the assault took place, the amicus curiae in the case told the Supreme Court during a special hearing on Saturday. An amicus curiae is a party who is not involved in the case but gives expert testimony when asked by the court.
Sanjay Hegde questioned the evidence put forward by the prosecution regarding Mukesh’s presence in the bus with Ram Singh, the prime accused in the case, ANI reported. Hegde said cellphone location data showed Mukesh and Ram Singh at separate locations when the assault took place. The apex court will hear the case next on December 5.
In November, another amicus curiae urged the Supreme Court to strike down the death sentence awarded to three men convicted in the case. Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran listed six fundamentals mistakes in the trial court judgment. 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.
Six men, including a juvenile, were convicted of raping and killing the woman in a moving bus on December 16, 2012. She succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital on December 29. In March 2013, Ram Singh 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.