The Supreme Court has agreed to entertain petitions in the 2012 Delhi gangrape case against death sentence to four convicts. The amicus curiae in the case had suggested that proper procedure was not followed in the sentencing. The court on Friday agreed with senior lawyer Raju Ramachandran and asked the convicts to file fresh affidavits by February 23, reported The Hindu.
Ramachandran had held that Section 235 of the Code of Criminal Procedure mandates that convicts should be individually heard before the court passes verdict awarding punishment, but that rule was not followed properly in the case. “We would like to give opportunity to accused persons to file affidavits along with documents stating mitigating circumstances,” the Supreme Court bench said on Friday. The apex court bench comprised Justices Dipak Misra, R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan, reported The Times of India.
The convicts – Vinay Sharma (23), Akshay Thakur (31), Mukesh (29) and Pawan Gupta (22) – are in Tihar jail. They were awarded death sentence in September 2013. The trial court verdict was upheld by the Delhi High Court. But the order was stayed by the Supreme Court in 2014 after the convicts appealed against the verdict.
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.