2012 New Delhi gangrape case: Supreme Court reserves its verdict on review plea filed by death row convict
The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on a plea by death row convict Mukesh Singh seeking review of the top court judgment upholding his death sentence in the 16 December, 2012, New Delhi gangrape case
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on a plea by death row convict Mukesh Singh seeking review of the top court judgment upholding his death sentence in the 16 December, 2012, New Delhi gangrape case.
The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice R Banumathi and Justice Ashok Bhushan reserved the verdict as advocate Manohar Lal Sharma cited procedural lapses committed by police in the course of the investigation and raised doubts about the DNA report.
Sharma said his client was tortured even when the trial was on.
The bench rejected Sharma's submission that even the top court had doubted the DNA report in the course of the hearing of the appeals against Delhi High Court verdict upholding the death sentence.
"We never said (that). We maintained a strict silence (in the course of the hearing of the appeals). You are not correct in saying that any one of us on the bench doubted the veracity of the DNA report," Chief Justice Misra said, brushing aside his submission.
Senior counsel Sidharth Luthra, appearing for the Delhi government, told the court that all the submissions made before the court do not call for a review of the 5 May verdict as all these submissions have already been considered and rejected by the trial court, the high court and the Supreme Court.
Rebutting the submission that Mukesh was tortured even when the trial was on, Luthra told the court that during the period of trial, he was in judicial custody and the investigating officer had no access to him.
"If you have a right and you consciously did not choose to exercise it, then you can't later use it to castigate the trial court, high court and other forums," he said.
The top court by its 5 May verdict had upheld the death sentence of Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur.
The four were convicted for raping and assaulting the 23-year-old paramedical student inside a moving bus on 16 December, 2012, which led to her death due to internal injuries 13 days later in a Singapore hospital.
After committing the crime, the accused, six in all, dumped the girl and her boyfriend on the side of a road. Some onlookers alerted the police. The sheer brutality of the crime led to nationwide revulsion — and street protests.
A fifth accused, Ram Singh, committed suicide in the Tihar Central Jail. The sixth, a juvenile, who was accused of ripping apart the woman's intestines, was sent to a correction home and has been released after serving his probation period.
The court permitted the lawyer for other three death row convicts — Gupta, Sharma and Thakur — to file their plea for the review as it it directed the next hearing on 29 January.
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The panel said it also held meetings with officials of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, the Union Consumer Affairs Department, and the Small Farmers' Agri-Business Consortium
The Bench noted that the possibility of retrieving electronic records is very little even though nearly two years have passed since hearing in this case began