The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the review petition of Akshay Thakur, one of the four convicts awaiting death penalty in connection with the 2012 Delhi gang-rape and murder case.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice R Banumathi said there are no grounds to review the verdict and the contentions raised by convict Akshay Kumar Singh were already considered by the top court in the main judgement.The court said it has given “due consideration” to the grounds cited by Akshay for review; he has attacked the evidence which has been examined by the trial court, high court and the Supreme Court. “This cannot be allowed,” it said.
The 23-year-old woman’s mother hailed the Supreme Court verdict. “I am very happy,” she said.
During the course of the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, opposing any leniency to Akshay, had said, “There are crimes when humanity is put to shame. There are crimes when God cries that this girl could not be saved, and also that monsters were born. There can be no mercy in such a case.”
“The lawyers for accused are trying to delay the inevitable. They file some Petition, then file mercy, then withdraw it. I urge your Lordships to decide this at the earliest,” he added.Akshay’s lawyer AP Singh had pleaded that his client should not be given death penalty. “Death penalty is a primitive method of punishment; execution kills the crime and not the criminal,” said Singh.
He had also said that the 23-year-old woman’s dying declaration did not name any person. “The cause of death was septicemia and drug overdose,” said Singh adding, “Forged reports were prepared. Akshay Kumar Singh was falsely implicated in the case. Everything was fabricated to book him.”The lawyer had said that he was in possession of new facts which prove that Akshay was convicted under media, public and political pressure. “Akshay is an innocent and poor man,” said Singh.
Raising questions on the submissions made by key witness and 23-year-old woman’s friend, Singh had said the testimony is unreliable.The case was heard by a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court after Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde recused himself from hearing the matter citing personal grounds.
The new bench comprises of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and SA Bopanna.
Akshay moved the court seeking review of its 2017 verdict which upheld the death penalty awarded to him and three others in the case. He had sought modification and leniency in the sentence.
Notably, Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan were part of the court’s bench which rejected the review petitions of other three convicts in the case and upheld the death penalty.
In May 2017, Mukesh, Akshay, Pawan and Vinay had knocked the doors of the apex court against a Delhi High Court order which confirmed the capital punishment awarded to them by the trial court in September 2013.
In a voluminous judgement, the bench of the top court had held the attitude of offenders as “bestial proclivity” and said, “It sounds like a story from a different world where humanity is treated with irreverence.”Subsequently, the three convicts besides Akshay had sought review of the judgment but it was dismissed.
They are facing the gallows for rape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus on the night of December 16, 2012.
Besides four convicts, prime accused Ram Singh had committed suicide in the Tihar jail during the trial of the case. Another accused in the matter was a minor and had appeared before a juvenile justice court.