What is less obvious, but has far graver consequences, is the fact that such frivolous petitions clog the judicial system and contribute to judicial delays which undermine the public’s faith in justice delivery and fosters widespread acceptability of vigilante action.
The absurdity and baseness of the petition filed by Akshay Singh Thakur, one of the five adults convicted in the 2012 gangrape-murder of a phsyiotherapist in Delhi, for review of the 2017 Supreme Court judgment upholding the death sentence awarded in the case should be clear to all. Apart from questioning the merits of the 2017 judgment, the petition talks of the “inhuman nature” of capital punishment and even tries to suggest that since the air-quality of Delhi-NCR makes it a “gas chamber” and its water is “full of poison”, death penalty is redundant; “life is going to be short,” anyway. It even references Hindu religious scriptures that mention lifespan reducing to 50-60 years in the Kali Yuga to make its case.
What is less obvious, but has far graver consequences, is the fact that such frivolous petitions clog the judicial system and contribute to judicial delays which undermine the public’s faith in justice delivery and fosters widespread acceptability of vigilante action. The rank irresponsibility towards law, justice and the judicial system shown by Thakur’s lawyer, AP Singh, is condemnable. That India’s judicial system is far from perfect is not news—it has a track record of being bogged down by administrative and procedural delays and shortage of staff. While most of these flaws are structural, lawyers, too, should behave in a more responsible manner by not adding unnecessary burden to an already flailing institution. And, an unnecessary burden is all that the filing of this petition can possibly amount to, given that a similar plea seeking review of the SC’s judgment, filed by three others convicted in the case—Mukesh, Pawan Kumar Gupta, and Vinay Sharma—was dismissed by the apex court just last year, citing lack of reasonable grounds for petitioning. While it is nobody’s case that judicial remedy through appeals be denied to convicts—that in itself would be a gross violation of justice—attempting to delay the carrying out of justice in a case that has already been classified as the ‘rarest of rare’ kind warranting capital punishment through sheer nonsense like the said review petition is simply unacceptable.