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

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India's top court on Monday upheld death sentences for three men convicted over the notorious 2012 gang-rape and murder of a woman that sparked national protests and soul-searching.

The judgement was pronounced on a review petition filed by three out of the four convicts against a May 2017 order of the apex court, which had upheld the death sentence of the convicts.

The review petitions challenge the judgment of the Supreme Court delivered on May 5, 2017 confirming death penalty for all the four accused.

The apex court during the hearing of the case on Monday said that the death row convicts failed to point out "error apparent on the face of record" in the judgement.

The convicts have the option of seeking presidential commutation of their death sentences which seems unlikely given the severity of the crime and the views of the trial court, HC and the SC.

Jyoti Singh, a physiotherapy student, was raped and left for dead by a gang of five men and a teenager on a bus in the Indian capital New Delhi in December 2012. She had succumbed to injuries on December 29, 2012 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. Of six assailants eventually arrested, the fifth man died in prison in 2013 and the sixth was a juvenile who served his three-year sentence in a youth offender facility.

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The defendants" lawyer A. P. Singh "injustice" had been meted out to his clients under "political and media pressure'. 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.

On May 5 a year ago, the top court had upheld the death penalty to the four convicts.

The accused had then put up a clever masquerade with three of them posing as passengers in the bus when the victim and her friend, who were trying to get to Dwarka, were lured into the bus by the juvenile at the Munirka bus stop.

"The Supreme Court upholding its verdict is a strong message to those who commit such heinous crimes".

The brutal crime had sparked widespread protests and drew global attention over violence against women in India. "The stringent measures taken by our government are working and will act as a strong deterrent for the perpetrators of such heinous crimes", she said.

In April 2018, the Centre had approved an ordinance introducing death penalty for those convicted of raping girls aged 12 years or younger, it said.

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