Indian Supreme Court orders Nirbhaya's rapists to hang

Hugh Fox
July 10, 2018

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan rejected the review petitions filed by Mukesh (29), Pawan Gupta (22) and Vinay Sharma (23), saying the convicts had made no grounds for a review of the May 2017 judgment upholding their capital punishment.

"The review petition of all the three convicts has been rejected", Mr A.P. Singh, a lawyer for the defendants, told reporters.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, maintained that a review of the Supreme Court's verdict of May 5 previous year would have been necessary only if there were "errors resulting in miscarriage of justice". A review petition can not be used to re-argue the matter, justice Bhushan said.

Singh, a physiotherapy student, was raped and left for dead by a gang of five men and a teenager on a bus in the Indian capital New Delhi in December 2012. Of six assailants eventually arrested, the fifth man died in prison in 2013 and the sixth was a juvenile who served his three-year sentence in a youth offender facility.

The victim's father said, "All women in the country have received justice today".

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The four men have maintained their innocence but only three appealed to have their death sentences lifted.

"There is no evidence to show that the death penalty acts as a deterrent for sexual violence or any other crime", said Asmita Basu, a top official of the global rights organisation in India. If that fails, their last legal option is to file a mercy plea before the President.

The three men - Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Singh - had asked the Supreme Court to consider less severe punishment.

AP Singh, the lawyer for the convicts told ANI, "The sentence was upheld due to public and political pressure".

The attack shocked the nation and sparked widespread protests.

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According to National Crime Records Bureau data for 2016, incidents of rape of children in India increased by over 82 percent compared with 2015, when almost 35,000 rape cases were reported to the police.

This included the attack on an eight-year-old girl from a Muslim nomadic community in January.

She died of her injuries in hospital. The remaining four accused were sentenced to death by Additional Sessions Judge. It was later upheld by the high court.

"What has happened between the confirmation of death sentence and now - there is no diminution of sexual violence against women", Grower said.

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