No ground to erase death penalty, says SC

July 10, 2018 12:00 am | Updated 05:06 am IST - NEW DELHI

‘No illegality in awarding sentence’

The Supreme Court said on Monday that the abolition of death penalty by the British Parliament, several Latin American nations and Australian states was no ground to erase it from the statutes in India.

The court, which dismissed the review pleas filed by three of the four death row convicts of the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case, said there was no illegality in awarding capital punishment in “appropriate cases” as long as death penalty remained in the penal code.

‘Constitutionally valid’

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices R. Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan observed that after elaborately considering the existence of death penalty in the penal code, constitutional provisions and international covenant on civil and criminal rights, a constitution bench of the apex court held that death penalty was “constitutionally valid.”

Advocate A.P. Singh, appearing for convicts Vinay Sharma and Pawan Kumar Gupta, had argued for abolition of death penalty in India.

Rejects submissions

“The submission of Singh that death penalty has been abolished by the Parliament of U.K. in the year 1966 and several Latin American countries, and Australian states have also abolished death penalty, is no ground to efface death penalty from the statute book of our country,” Justice Bhushan, writing the judgement for the bench, said.

The apex court rejected the review pleas by Vinay Sharma, Pawan Kumar Gupta and Mukesh.

The 23-year-old paramedic student was gang raped on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 inside a running bus in South Delhi by six persons and severely assaulted before being thrown out on the road.

She succumbed to her injuries on December 29, 2012 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

The apex court in its May 5, 2017 verdict upheld capital punishment awarded to the convicts by the Delhi High Court and trial court.

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