In a surprising move, the Supreme Court gave some hope to the four death row con in the sensational Nirbhaya case saying it would re-examine and re-assess the capital punishment awarded to them by the trial court which was upheld by the Delhi High Court.
A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra took the decision after accepting the competition of the two senior lawyers Raju Ramachandran and Sanjay Hegde who had been appointed as an adviser in the case.
Both of them had significantly argued that various principles of code of criminal process had not been followed while giving death sentence to all four con- Mukesh (24), Pawan (20), Vinay (22) and Akshay (29.
Significantly, Ramachandran had argued that charges and nature of crime alleged against each one of them were singly and all of them could not have been sentenced to death in one brush without hearing them singly on the point of sentence
ADVOCATE CAN MEET THE CONVICTS IN JAIL
Justice Misra said that now that it has been distinct to re-examine the sentence awarded to them for the offense, the court will give all the convicts chance to file affidavits along with documents stating the mitigating situations. Their lawyers have been allowed to meet them for the purpose at the Tihar jail. Their affidavits have been sought within two weeks.
Ramachandran had pointed out that the apex court had held in the famous 1980 Bachan Singh case that a balance sheet of “palliate and exacerbating circumstances” have to be drawn before sentencing a person to death.
He contended that the young age of the con, the fact that they had no criminal antecedents, the crime being “not pre-meditated” were mitigating factors in their favour.
“The offense was not premeditated,” Ramachandran had said. “There is no evidence on record to hold the rape and murder was a pre-planned act. The accused did not know the victim and had any occasion to trust she would be present at the relevant spot on the fateful day. Trial court failed to even consider this factor which has been treated as a palliate factor.”
In 2012, five men and a juvenile lured the 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist and her male friend onto a bus in Delhi, where they repeatedly raped the woman and beat both with a metal bar before dumping them on a road. The woman, later dubbed Nirbhaya died two weeks later of injuries. Four adults were sentenced to death while the fifth hanged himself in prison.
On 31st August 2013, the juvenile was con and sentenced to three years in a reclamation home. He was released in December 2015.
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