NEW DELHI: Seeking relief from death sentence, four men, who gang-raped a Delhi student inside a moving bus in December 2012, on Friday told the Supreme Court that “they are not habitual offenders and stands chance to reform”.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra reserved the verdict on the plea of two condemned convicts — Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Kumar — seeking a review of the 2017 verdict by which they, along with one other, were awarded death penalty in the sensational December 16, 2012, gangrape-cum-murder case.
Advocate A P Singh, counsel for Vinay and Pawan, argued that they were “not habitual offenders and have no criminal records, so the court must allow them to be reformed.”
Singh also said the death penalty has been abolished in many countries. Execution kills criminals and not the crime, he argued. He also claimed that his clients were underage when they were arrested. This led the Chief Justice to say, “Death penalty exists in the statute.”
The convicts told the court that there were discrepancies in Nirbhaya’s dying statements and she didn’t name the accused. Special Public Prosecutor Sidharth Luthra countered that all arguments had been considered by the court when it confirmed the death sentence in May 2017.
The gang rape and killing of the 23-year-old medical student had provoked rage and shock across India and led to big changes to laws on sexual crimes against women.
Of the six accused, bus driver Ram Singh killed himself in his prison cell. The youngest accused, just days short of 18 when he committed the crime, has been sent to a juvenile home.
Meanwhile, Asha Devi, mother of Nirbaya, while addressing a conference on ‘Demand for Women Safety Guarantee Rights Act’, said, “Our fight is against the crime they committed. Their representative covered the crime saying it caused only normal injuries.”