What is the need for death penalty when Delhi and NCR is “like a gas chamber” on account of poor air quality, while its water is “full of poison”?
The question was posed by one of the convicts in the December 16, 2012, gangrape and murder case, in his plea filed in the Supreme Court Tuesday. The plea seeks a review of the apex court’s 2017 judgment upholding the death sentence handed to him and three co-convicts.
In his plea filed through advocate A P N Singh, convict Akshay Kumar Singh stated that a report tabled by the central government in Parliament had “proved” the point about the water quality, and added: “Everyone is aware of what is happening in Delhi-NCR with regard to water and air. Life is going short to short, then why death penalty?”
The review petition also questioned the need for the extreme penalty, claiming that people’s life span was steadily decreasing. “Why death penalty? When age is reducing, it is mentioned in our ‘Ved’, ‘Purans’ and ‘Upanishads’ that in the age of ‘Satyug’, people lived the life of thousand years. In the age of ‘Dwapar’ they used to live for hundreds of the years. But now it is ‘Kalyug’ — in this era, age of human beings has reduced. It has now come to 50-60 years, and rarely we listen of a person who is the age of 100 years.
“Very few reach the age of 80-90 years. This is almost a true analysis. When we look around, we come to the conclusion, more or less this analysis is true when a person faces the stark realities of life and passes through the adverse situation, then he is no better than a dead body,” it said.
He submitted that “the state must not simply execute people to prove that it is attacking terror or violence against women. It must persistently work towards systematic reforms to being about change. Executions only kill the criminal, not the crime…”
Singh’s plea further said there was no evidence to show that death penalty had any deterrent value. It also referred to the observations of former CJI P N Bhagwati that convicts hailing from poor background are more likely to be sent to the gallows.
Singh also contended that he and others were arrested to cover up the inefficiency of the police to catch real culprits. In this context, the plea referred to a case from September 2017 regarding the murder of a student of a renowned Gurgaon school, and said that case “reveals… the sheer callousness with which our investigating agencies deal with such situations”.
In that case, police had initially identified a school bus conductor and “we were told through the media that the accused had already confessed”, the plea stated, adding that the real accused would never have been caught had the case not been handed over to CBI.
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