India top court confirms death for Nirbhaya convict

:: Peoples Time Online :: 

The Supreme Court today confirmed the death sentence of one of the four convicts in the 2012 gang-rape, torture and killing of a young medical student – who came to be known as ‘Nirbhaya’.

The convict had questioned the woman’s dying declaration and argued in court that he deserved mercy as the “pressure to implicate him had been overlooked” and there had been inefficiency to catch the “real perpetrators”.

“The convict doesn’t deserve any lenience. God would feel ashamed of creating such a monster. There are certain crimes where ‘humanity cries’ and this case is one of them,” said Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, contesting the convict’s petition.

There was media and public pressure to implicate Akshay Singh, the convict’s lawyer AP Singh argued as his petition was heard by three judges.

The lawyer said the dying declaration of Nirbhaya was “doubtful and cannot be relied upon”. He also pointed to a recent book by a former jailer of the Tihar Jail, where the convicts are lodged. The book raises questions about the suicide of Ram Singh, one of the accused, inside jail.

“We can’t go by views of any author. We can’t go into all this now. This will set a dangerous trend if people start writing books after the trial is over and talk about such things. There will be no end if we start entertaining all these arguments now. He should have offered himself at the time of trial. What can be the purpose of writing all this now? How can we reply on it,” said the court.

Claiming “new facts”, convict Akshay Singh’s lawyer also said a CBI inquiry was never carried out in the case and referred to the case of the killing of a Delhi schoolboy in which a bus conductor first arrested by the police was cleared by the CBI.

A new bench heard the review petition after Chief Justice S A Bobde recused himself on Tuesday, saying one of his relatives had represented Nirbhaya.

The review petitions of the three other convicts, Mukesh, 30, Pawan Gupta, 23, and Vinay Sharma, 24, had been dismissed earlier. Of the six accused of Nirbhaya’s rape and murder, four were convicted, Ram Singh committed suicide and a juvenile was released after three years in a reform home.

The 23-year-old paramedic student was gang-raped and brutally assaulted on a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, 2012, before being dumped on a road, naked and critically injured.

She died on December 29 in Singapore.

Akshay, in his petition, argues that Delhi is a “gas chamber” and a person’s life-span is becoming shorter anyway. “Everyone is aware of what is happening in Delhi-NCR with regard to water and air. Life is becoming short, then why death penalty,” he says.

Nirbhaya’s mother said she was confident the petition would be rejected and all four convicts would be hanged soon.

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