The Supreme Court is to hear the appeal filed by the ‘Nirbhaya’ rape convicts, who have challenged the death sentence given to them by the Delhi High Court. The four convicts namely Akshay, Vinay Sharma, Pawan and Mukesh’s death sentence had earlier been upheld by the Delhi High Court. Earlier during the last hearing on November 7, Raju Ramachandran, the apex court’s amicus curiae in the case had asked the Supreme Court to relieve the accused of the death penalty.
The senior advocate, in a written submission listed down 6 ‘fundamental’ errors committed by the court during the trial as it awarded the accused death penalties, such as not taking their circumstances into consideration and not hearing their sides on their punishments. The Amicus Curiae refers to someone who is not a party to the case but is a volunteer who offers information on the law or some aspect of the case to help the court decide a matter. The apex court had begun the convicts’ appeal hearing almost a couple of years following putting a stay order on their execution.
Two of the 4 convicts had earlier written to Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice Deepak Mishra. The letters had stated that they did not approve of the defence counsel provided by the court as thy had already given statements against the convicts in the media, before the hearing. The convicts had been awarded the death penalty in September 2013. 6 people, including a 17-year-old, had brutally raped a woman in a bus on the night of December 26, 2012. The victim and her friend had been later brutalised and thrown out of a bus in an isolated spot. The victim died on 3 days later on December 29, which had resulted in nationwide protests.