Nirbhaya case: Supreme Court to continue hearing over convicts' plea challenging death sentence

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: Feb 04, 2017, 03:32 AM IST

The matter is at present being heard by the Apex Court bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra and Justices R Banumathj and Ashok Bhushan. Photograph:(AFP)

The hearing in the December 16 gang-rape case will continue in the Supreme Court today, where the four convicts -- Akshay, Pawan, Vinay Sharma, and Mukesh -- have challenged the Delhi High court order which had sentenced them to the gallows after keeping in view the fact that it was a rarest of the rare case.

The top court on Friday directed the superintendent of Tihar Jail to allow the lawyers of the convicts to meet them and file a detailed affidavit within two weeks related to the circumstances in which the brutal offence was committed by them. The date for rehearing sentencing of the case will be decided on February 6.

The matter is at present being heard by the Apex Court bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra and Justices R Banumathj and Ashok Bhushan. On November 7, the top court amicus curiae in the case, Raju Ramachandran, had asked the apex court to set aside the death penalty awarded to the accused.

In his written submissions, the senior advocate listed six fundamental errors committed by the trial court while awarding death sentences, including not taking the mitigating circumstances of the accused persons into consideration and not hearing them in person on their punishment.

Amicus curiae refers to someone who is not a party to the case but volunteers to offer information on a point of law or some other aspect of the case to assist the court in deciding a matter before it.

The top court had on April 4 begun final hearing of the convicts' appeal almost two years after staying their execution. Two of the four death-row convicts had written to Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice Deepak Misra, stating that they do not approve of the defence counsel appointed by the court to argue their case before the top court as they had given statements against them to the media in the past.

The trial court had in September 2013 awarded death sentences to the convicts. Six months later, the Delhi High Court upheld their conviction and sentence. All the convicts moved the apex court in 2014, which stayed their execution.

Six people, including a juvenile, had brutally assaulted the woman in a moving bus in South Delhi. Later, the accused threw out the victim and her male friend at an isolated spot. She died in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012, triggering nation-wide protests that resulted in giving more teeth to laws related to rape and other forms of sexual harassment.