Supreme Court upholds death penalty for 2012 Delhi gang rape case convicts

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The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the plea of two rapists, convicted in the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case, to spare them from the death row in the name of ahimsa (non-violence), saying death penalty is still considered a "constitutionally valid" punishment under the Indian Penal Code and the court can not ignore the law.

Dismissing the plea for the recall of the May 5, 2017 verdict upholding the death sentence, Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice R Banumathi and Justice Ashok Bhushan said that the petition lacked grounds for a review.

The court said the death-row convicts had failed to point out any "error" in the earlier judgment. The court rejected the review pleas filed by the three convicts.

Nirbhaya, a paramedic student, was gang-raped on December 16, 2012 inside a moving bus in Delhi. She succumbed to her injuries on December 29 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

The main accused Ram Singh committed suicide in the Tihar jail while the juvenile accused was sentenced to 3 years at a reform home.

The victim's parents on Monday welcomed the ruling, with her mother Asha Singh saying it was "very happy news". However, the convicts still have judicial redressal for a re-examination of the dismissal of their appeals and review pleas by way of a curative petition, which is the last legal remedy left for curing the defects, if any, in a judgment.

The brutality of the crime had led to nationwide street protests and changes in laws regarding sexual violence against women.

Singh survived long enough to be able to identify her attackers and following a seven-month trial, four of the men were convicted in September 2013 for murder, gang rape, theft, conspiracy and "unnatural acts".

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AP Singh, the lawyer for the convicts told ANI, "The sentence was upheld due to public and political pressure".

The crime shocked the nation's conscience, they said.

There were some 40,000 rapes reported in India in 2016, according to the most recent official figures available.

The apex court had sentenced the convicts - Mukesh, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma - to death in May past year.

This included the attack of an eight-year-old girl from the northern Jammu region who died after being kidnapped, drugged and gang-raped by several men for days at a Hindu temple. On July 9, 2018 SC will decide the fate of the four accused of death sentence in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case.

Interestingly, the committee was opposed to the death penalty as a punishment - even in the rarest of the rare cases.

Out of the 371 death row convicts in 2017, 43 were awarded the punishment for crimes involving fatal sexual assaults.

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