New Delhi: The convicts in the December 16 gangrape and murder case will hang, the Supreme Court said on Monday, reaffirming the death sentence of three of the four death row convicts and holding that “no grounds” have been made out to review the top court’s decision last year to give them capital punishment.
Mukesh, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma, who were sent to the gallows for the chilling crime that sparked a national outrage, had approached the apex court seeking mercy and with a request that their death sentence be reduced to life imprisonment. The fourth convict, Akshay, did not file any review of the May 5, 2017, judgement that had confirmed death sentence awarded to the accused by the Delhi high court. The SC had earlier stayed their execution pending disposal of review petitions.
Dismissing the three convicts’ pleas, a bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said, “There is no new material to review our order. A mere repetition, through different counsel, of old and overruled arguments, a second trip over ineffectually covered ground or minor mistakes of inconsequential import are obviously insufficient.”
“A review of a judgement is a serious step and reluctant resort to… it is proper only where a glaring omission or patent mistake or like grave error has crept in earlier by judicial fallibility,” said Justices R. Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan. 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 curative petition, if filed, would come up before three senior most judges of the apex court and the three judges on the bench which dismissed the review petition on Monday. Before facing the gallows, the convicts can also seek mercy from the President. Writing the judgment, Justice Bhushan pointed out that during a judgement’s review counsel cannot be permitted to re-argue the grounds taken earlier.
“We may observe that submissions which have been raised by counsel before us in this review petition are more or less the submissions which were advanced at the time of hearing of the appeal and this court had already considered the relevant submissions and dealt them in its judgment dated May 5, 2017. This court had cautiously gone into and revisited the entire evidences on record and after being fully satisfied had dismissed the appeal,” the court said. It said in a review petition the petitioner cannot be allowed to re-argue merits of the case by pointing out certain evidences and materials, which were on the record and were already looked into by the trial court, HC and this court as well....