What next for December 16 Delhi gangrape convicts? Two options left before rapists on death row

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New Delhi | Updated: July 10, 2018 11:56:50 AM

The 2012 December 16 Delhi gangrape convicts have only two options left to avoid the gallows - a curative petition, and, if this gets rejected, a mercy petition before the President.

The 2012 December 16 Delhi gangrape convicts have only two options left to avoid the gallows – a curative petition, and, if this gets rejected, a mercy petition before the President. However, considering the sensitivity attached to the case, and general consensus over hanging these convicts in the civil society, it is highly unlikely that the President will accept their mercy petition. But before that, these convicts can file a curative petition in the Supreme Court.

On Monday, the Supreme Court dismissed the review petition filed by three of the four convicts -Mukesh (31), Pawan Gupta (24) and Vinay Sharma (25)- in the sensational December 16, 2012 gangrape and murder case. The apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra held that the convicts failed to make out a case for grant of any relief from the death sentence.

“In these review petitions, no ground has been made out which may furnish any ground to review the judgment. We, thus, find no merit in these review petitions and consequently, the review petitions are dismissed,” the Supreme Court said.

The convicts can now file a curative petition in the top court. They can challenge the death penalty, claiming there is some evidence or point of law not argued by them in the past. If they fail to convince the SC and the petition is rejected, then the last option for them would be to file a mercy petition.

To file the curative petition, the convicts will have to establish that the principle of natural justice was genuinely violated in the case.

The President of India takes a call on the mercy petitions on the basis of the opinion of the Union Home Ministry.

In its May 5, 2017 verdict, the Supreme Court had upheld capital punishment awarded to the convicts in the December 16 gangrape and murder case by the Delhi High Court and the trial court. The top court had then remarked that “brutal, barbaric and diabolic nature” of the crime could create “tsunami of shock” to destroy a civilised society.

Akshay Kumar Singh (33), the fourth death row convict, has not yet filed a review petition against the apex court judgement, while one of the accused, Ram Singh, had allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail on March 11, 2013. A juvenile convict in the case was released from a reformation home after serving a three-year term.

A 23-year-old paramedic student was gangraped on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 inside a running bus in South Delhi by six persons and severely assaulted before being thrown out on the road. The victim had succumbed to injuries on December 29, 2012 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

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