NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought response from the state government on a petition filed by 16 of the 24 convicts challenging their conviction and varying quantum of sentence in the Suryanelli gangrape case.
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A bench comprising Justices S J Mukhopadhaya and P C Pant issued notice to the government on the appeals against Kerala High Court’s April 4 judgment upholding the verdict of the trial court.
The High Court had confirmed the life sentence of one convict and varying sentences awarded by the trial court in Kottayam, to other 23. There were 36 people in all who faced trial in the 18-year-old case, of which five died during the trial. Seven were acquitted. The High Court had in 2005 acquitted all the 35 persons tried in the case and reduced the life sentence awarded to Dharmarajan, who was tried separately, to five years imprisonment on appeals filed by them.
This was challenged by the state government and the victim in the Supreme Court, which had directed the High Court to constitute a new bench to hear the appeals afresh.
The new bench was constituted in February 2013. While hearing their pleas again, the High Court had rejected the contentions of convicts touching on the character of the victim.