Chief Justice of India S A Bobde Tuesday recused himself on personal grounds from hearing the review plea filed by one of the four death-row convicts in the December 16, 2012 gangrape case. The plea seeking review of the Supreme Court’s 2017 judgment, awarding death penalty, will now be taken up by a new bench on Wednesday.
The review plea, filed by convict Akshay Kumar Singh, wanted the sentence commuted as “rising pollution” has increased mortality rates. The apex court was also scheduled to hear today the plea filed by the victim’s mother against Akshay’s petition.
Meanwhile, a Delhi court is also scheduled to hear tomorrow the convicts before deciding whether to direct Tihar authorities to expedite their execution.
The Supreme Court has already dismissed, more than a year ago on July 9, 2018, the review pleas filed by Vinay and another two of the convicts, Mukesh and Pawan. A fifth accused, Ram, hanged himself in his cell in Tihar, while the sixth, who was a juvenile at the time of the crime, was sent to a reform facility.
On December 6, the Union Home Ministry sent the Delhi government’s recommendation to reject the mercy plea of Vinay, one of the four convicts, to President Ram Nath Kovind.
The convicts, except Akshay Kumar Singh, can still file curative pleas in the top court against their conviction and death penalty in the case. After exhausting the remedy of filing curative pleas, the convicts can send their mercy pleas to the President. In case the pleas are dismissed, the authorities can seek death warrants from a local court to execute them.
The 23-year-old paramedic student was gangraped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 inside a moving bus in south Delhi by six persons before being thrown out on the road. She died on December 29, 2012, at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.
In September 2013, a fast-track court held the four convicts guilty of 13 offences including gangrape, unnatural sexual assault and murder of the woman, and attempt to murder her male friend.
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