Supreme Court June 2022 Roundup
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Top Stories of the Month

Clean Chit to PM Modi in 2002 Gujarat riots case

“SIT Officials have come out with flying colours unscathed despite all odds”; SC upholds SIT’s clean chit to PM Modi in 2002 Gujarat riots

“The protagonists of quest for justice sitting in a comfortable environment in their air-conditioned office may succeed in connecting failures of the State administration at different levels during such horrendous situation, little knowing or even referring to the ground realities and the continual effort put in by the duty holders in controlling the spontaneous evolving situation unfolding aftermath mass violence across the State.”

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Maharashtra Political Crisis

Supreme Court refuses to stay Trust Vote; Uddhav Thakrey resigns as CM

No stay on floor test, disqualification proceedings to be kept in abeyance till July 11; Read SC’s directions on Eknath Shinde’s plea

Psychiatric & Psychological Evaluation of death row convicts

Supreme Court mandates call for mental health report before pronouncing death sentence

“Implicit in this shift is the understanding that the criminal is not a product of only their own decisions, but also a product of the state and society’s failing, which is what entitles the accused to a chance of reformation.”

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Also Read: Supreme Court allows Project 39A of NLU Delhi to conduct psychological evaluation of a death row convict to bring out mitigating factors

Insolvency and Bankruptcy

Liability in respect of a claim arising out of a Recovery Certificate is a “financial debt” under Section 5(8) of the IBC

The words “means a debt along with interest, if any, which is disbursed against the consideration for the time value of money” are followed by the words “and includes”. By employing the words “and includes”, the Legislature has only given instances, which could be included in the term “financial debt”. However, the list is not exhaustive but inclusive.

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NEET-PG 2021

“Process of admission and that too in the medical education cannot be endless”; SC says no to Stray Round of counselling for unfilled NEET-PG 2021 seats

“There cannot be any compromise with the merits and/or quality of Medical Education, which may ultimately affect the Public Health.”

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Fact Check of this Supreme Court story from a Leading Newspaper

On June 14th 2022, a leading newspaper had published an article with the headline “Illegitimate child of cohabiting couple to get assets share: Supreme Court”. While on the face of it, it appeared to be a landmark judgement, on our correct analysis of the judgment, we found out that neither the couple was held to be cohabitating “without marriage” nor was the son considered to be “illegitimate”.

Read the Fact Check: We fact-check a leading newspaper’s misleading headline “Illegitimate child of cohabiting couple to get assets share: Supreme Court”

Read the accurate analysis by the SCC Online Blog: Long co-habiting couple’s child cannot be disentitled from family property in absence of proof against presumption of marriage

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Most Read Story of the Month

Beyond Reasonable Doubt versus Preponderance of Probabilities: Supreme Court explains why circumstances guide the Courts in deciding Right to Private Defence cases

“The underlying factor should be that such an act of private defence should have been done in good faith and without malice.”

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More Stories

Dishonour of cheque| Partner cannot be held to be vicariously liable when partnership firm is not tried as primary offender

The Partnership Act, 1932 creates civil liability. Further, the guarantor’s liability under the Contract Act, 1872 is a civil liability. The Partner may have civil liability and may also be liable under the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993 and the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002. However, vicarious liability in the criminal law in terms of Section 141 of the NI Act cannot be fastened because of the civil liability.

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No conviction based on ‘last seen together’ theory when possibility of suicidal death not ruled out; SC sets man free in a 28-year-old honour killing case

“The suspicion howsoever strong cannot take place of proof.”

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Old Age Home inmates can’t get away with causing disruption of peace of other inmates; Administration can ask them to vacate the room

“One can understand the mental trauma which the parents face in the evening of their life but the agony suffered by a parent cannot be a cause of disturbance to the other inmates or to the organizers who have resolved to take care and run the old age home.”

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Railway doubling project on Karnataka-Goa route antithesis to biodiversity and ecology; Supreme Court revokes approval for railway doubling in Western Ghats

“While economic development should not be allowed to take place at the cost of ecology or by causing widespread environment destruction and violation; at the same time, the necessity topreserve ecology and environment should not hamper economic and other developments.”

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Income, age not enough to tilt the balance in favour of maternal aunt; Grandparents win custody battle of 5-year-old who lost parents to COVID-19

“One should not doubt the capacity and/or ability of the paternal grandparents to take care of their grandson.”

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Date of dispatch/shipment: Is it when the loading commences or when the loading completes?

“The term ‘despatch’ contained in the policy implied ‘completion’ of handing over of possession of the goods to the first carrier (the ship), and not the date on which the loading ‘commenced’ such an interpretation would give rise to an absurdity.”

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Allahabad HC grants bail to a history sheeter only on the basis of parity; prompts SC to lay down illustrative circumstances for cancellation of bail

Holding that the Supreme Court has the inherent powers and discretion to cancel the bail of an accused even in the absence of supervening circumstances, the Court laid down the illustrative circumstances where the bail can be cancelled.

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More than one chargesheet is necessary for invoking provisions of Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Act, 2015

The Court enumerated the conditions will have to be fulfilled for invoking the provisions of the GCTOC Act.

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Pay on a par with last drawn pay on reemployment in Government Service? Not a matter of right, holds Supreme Court

In a case where the bench of MR Shah and BV Nagarathna, JJ was posed with the question as to whether on re­employment in the government service, an employee who was serving in the Indian Army/in the Armed Forces shall be entitled to his pay scales at par with his last drawn pay, it has been held that a claim for the last drawn pay in the armed forces is not a matter of right.

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Consider relocating and rehabilitating 268 Jhuggi Dwellers without insisting on Ration Card proofs; Supreme Court directs Delhi Government

By the impugned order, the Delhi High Court had held that since the original cut-off date was 31-12-1998, the jhuggi dwellers were not eligible for the rehabilitation scheme at that date as they did not have ration card on the relevant date.

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Madras High Court’s decision to keep enquiry report in a sealed cover in SP Velumani graft case doesn’t sit well with Supreme Court

When the State has not pleaded any specific privilege which bars disclosure of material utilized in the earlier preliminary investigation, there is no good reason for the High Court to have permitted the report to have remained shrouded in a sealed cover.

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Unless there’s a written instrument declaring land was voluntarily relinquished for no consideration, State cannot deny payment of compensation

Under the mandate of Article 300A, the State can only deprive a person of the right to property if it is for a public purpose and the right to compensation is fulfilled, thereby reiterating that the right to compensation is an inbuilt part of Article 300A.

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Can insurer rely on statutory interpretation of “acts of terrorism” to repudiate insurance claim where the policy itself defines the term?

The Court reversed National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission’s (NCDRC) judgment by which it had held that the insurance company was justified in repudiating the claim.

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Can State deny benefits of New Pension Scheme citing delayed appointments when the delay was not attributable to employees?

In the given circumstances, when all other candidates who had participated along with the appellants were appointed on 24-09-2002 including those who were lower in the order of merit, there was no reason for withholding the names of the appellants.

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SC steps in after Orissa HC sits on a blind man’s bail plea in a Ponzi scheme case for 2 years after reserving order in 2020; Issues notice to CBI, ED

The petitioner, who suffers from a permanent disability of blindness by birth, has submitted before the Court that the prolonged detention is against the fundamental rights of the Petitioner under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

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Supreme Court reinstates All India Chess Federation secretary Bharat Singh Chauhan till August 15 to ensure smooth holding of the prestigious Chess Olympiad-2022

The Court took the decision in the light of the fact that a prestigious Chess Olympiad is to be held in the country and the same should not be affected because of any structural anomaly in the National Sports Federation (NSF). 

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Cases Reported in SCC

2022 SCC Vol. 4 Part 2 : In 2022 SCC Volume 4 Part 2, read this very pertinent matter of the Supreme Court wherein it was decided whether culpable homicide tantamounts to murder or not. [State of Uttarakhand v. Sachendra Singh Rawat(2022) 4 SCC 227]

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2022 SCC Volume 4 Part 3: This part consists a very pertinent decision of the Supreme Court wherein it was held that it cannot be said that the Tribunal will have jurisdiction only if the subject property is disputed to be a waqf property and not if it is admitted to be a waqf property as such interpretation will be against the provisions Section 83(1) of Act. [Rashid Wali Beg v. Farid Pindari, (2022) 4 SCC 414]

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2022 SCC Volume 4 Part 4: This part encapsulates, a very interesting decision, wherein while criticizing the practise of granting cryptic bail in a casual manner, the Court expressed, “It would be only a non speaking order which is an instance of violation of principles of natural justice. In such a case the prosecution or the informant has a right to assail the order before a higher forum.” [Brijmani Devi v. Pappu Kumar(2022) 4 SCC 497]

2022 SCC Vol. 5 Part 1: This part encapsulates, a very interesting decision of the Supreme Court wherein the Court while dealing with Appointment of Vice-Chancellor, held, that it cannot be made dehors the applicable UGC Regulations, even if the State Act concerned prescribes diluted eligibility criteria vis-à-vis the criteria prescribed in the applicable UGC Regulations. [Gambhirdan K. Gadhvi v. State of Gujarat, (2022) 5 SCC 179]

2022 SCC Vol. 5 Part 2: This part covers the decision wherein the scope of “deemed authorization” clause under S. 16 provisio of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Act, 2006 has been dealt with. It has been held that if one reads S. 16 proviso in isolation, the inference undoubtedly would be that every entity which had started laying and building pipelines and networks was the recipient of the deemed authorisation clause i.e. the provision sought to retrospectively regularise activities by all entities, however, such a plain and facial construction is unacceptable. [Adani Gas Ltd. v. Union of India(2022) 5 SCC 210]

2022 SCC Vol. 5 Part 3: This part consists of an important decision on the menace of “dowry”, wherein it has been held that “Dowry” ought to be ascribed an expansive meaning so as to encompass any demand made on a woman, whether in respect of a property or a valuable security of any nature. [State of M.P. v. Jogendra(2022) 5 SCC 401]

2022 SCC Vol. 5 Part 4: This part covers a pertinent decision on Section 29-A(h) of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, wherein it has been held that existence of personal guarantee invoked by creditor is sufficient to render disqualification against the person executing guarantee, even when the application seeking initiation of insolvency resolution process is filed by some other creditor. [Bank of Baroda v. MBL Infrastructures Ltd.(2022) 5 SCC 661]

SCC Snippet

Why Reason is the Soul of Justice : The bench of GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly, JJ, in Kranti Associates Private Limited v. Masood Ahmed Khan, (2010) 9 SCC 496, stressed upon the importance of reasoned judicial orders and elaborated on why “reason is the soul of justice.”

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: While addressing an appeal alleging solitary confinement of a death row convict, the 3-Judge Bench of Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and P.S. Narasimha, JJ., directed local inspection by a District Judge to throw light on the ground situation.  

A appeal was filed before the Court alleging that the appellant had been placed in solitary confinement since 29-10-2006 contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration, (1978) 4 SCC 494. The appellant had relied on the letter addressed by the Medical officer to the Superintendent of Prisons dated 06-11-2011 claiming that ‘the aforesaid prisoner is kept in solitary confinement since his admission to this prison on 29-10-2006’ and further that the petitioner was suffering from ‘psychosis with depression’.

Dr. Yug Mohit Chaudhry, counsel for the appellant stressed that the appellant was kept in solitary confinement right from the decision of the Sessions Court awarding him death sentence. To strengthen the argument the counsel submitted various documents including the Prison Manual in support of the submission that, as the petitioner was segregated and kept in a separate Cell that would amount to solitary confinement, in terms of the law laid down in Sunil Batra case (supra).

The State Government opposed the allegation of solitary confinement, however no specific reply was filed in the High Court controverting the basic allegations in the writ petition. The State had only requested that video conferencing be arranged to apprise the Court of the circumstances in which the petitioner had been lodged in a Cell.

The 3-judge Bench opined,

It is true that the Hon’ble Judges constituting the Bench in Sunil Batra’s case had visited the jail premises themselves in order to have first-hand knowledge about the conditions in which said petitioner was lodged. We may at this stage rely upon the local inspection to be conducted by the District Judge, Belgaum who also holds the charge as the Chairman of the District Legal Services Committee, Belgaum.”

Therefore, the Bench directed the District Judge, Belgaum to conduct a local inspection and place a report along with pictures as early as possible and latest by 25-04-2022, to enable the Court to have a clear understanding of the ground situation. To make sure the report deals with required details the Bench issued following additional directions:

  1. “The report shall concentrate on location of the barracks in which the cells of Death Row Convicts are situated.
  2. The inspection shall cover issues whether the inmates of the concerned cells are allowed to intermingle with fellow prisoners, the way the meals are served to them and the duration for which the inmates are allowed to come out of their individual cells. These are only illustrative pointers. What we want to gather is the typical life-style of Death Row Convicts and how their days are spent.”

However, the Bench clarified that the Cells which are close to the gallows and are used for keeping persons about to be executed, are different from the Cells for the Death Row Convicts.

With regard to status of Mercy Petition, the Bench directed the Registry to make copies of the file of Mercy Petition and return the same to the advocate on record concerned in a sealed cover. The matter is to be further heard on 26-04-2022.

[B.A. Umesh v. Union of India, Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No(s). 890 of 2022, decided on 21-04-2022]

Appearance by:

For Petitioner(s): AOR K. Paari Vendhan with Yug Mohit Chaudhry, Siddhartha Sharma, Prabu Ramasubramaniam, Payoshi Roy, Raghunatha Sethupathy B., Vishnu Unnikrishnan, Priya R, Advocates

For the Respondent(s): ASG K.M. Nataraj, AOR Arvind Kumar Sharma, AOR Shubhranshu Padhi, AAG Nikhil Goel, Sr. Advocate Sonia Mathur and Khushboo Aggarwal, Prerna Dhall, Simarjeet Singh Saluja, Shailesh Madiyal, Sanjay Kumar Tyagi, Ashish Yadav, Rakshit Jain, Vishal Banshal, Aditya K. Roy, Advocates

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together 

Hot Off The PressNews

All four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case, namely, Mukesh, Akshay, Vinay, and Pawan, were sent to the gallows at 5:30 AM today after the last bid to defer hanging was rejected by the Supreme Court in a hearing that took place less than 2 hours before the scheduled hanging. A hearing marathon took place before the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court where the convicts’ counsel AP Singh urged the Court to stay the execution.

During the almost mid-night hearing, the Delhi High Court said,

“We’re close to the time when your client will meet the God. Don’t waste time. We’ll not be able to help you in the eleventh hour if you cannot raise an important point. You have only 4-5 hours.”

However, when the counsel was unable to prove his point, the High Court said that it found no foundation in the plea and confirmed the scheduled hanging. Following which, the counsel approached the Supreme Court, where again the petition was dismissed. The roughly 45 minutes long hearing took place at 2:30 AM.

The Crime

The 23-year-old paramedic student, referred to as Nirbhaya, was gang raped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 in a moving bus in south Delhi by six people before being thrown out on the road. She died on December 29, 2012 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. The friend with whom Nirbhaya boarded the bus was also beaten, gagged and knocked unconscious with an iron rod by the accused. He suffered broken limbs but survived.

“The accused not only abducted the victim, but gang-raped her, committed unnatural offences by compelling her to perform oral sex, bit her lips, cheeks, breast and caused horrifying injuries to her private parts by inserting iron rod which ruptured the vaginal rectum, jejunum and rectum.”

The incident generated widespread national and international coverage and was widely condemned, both in India and abroad. Subsequently, public protests against the State and Central governments for failing to provide adequate security for women took place in New Delhi, where thousands of protesters clashed with security forces. Similar protests took place in major cities throughout the country. Since Indian law does not allow the press to publish a rape victim’s name, the victim was widely known as Nirbhaya, meaning “fearless”, and her struggle and death became a symbol of women’s resistance to rape around the world.

One of the six accused, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail in March 2013 during the trial. Another convict, who was a minor at the time of the crime, was sent to a reform facility and released after three years of the crime.

The Verdict

On May 5. 2017, the 3-judge bench of Dipak Misra, CJ., R. Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan, JJ. unanimously awarded death sentence to all 4 accused and said, [Mukesh v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2017) 6 SCC 1 : (2017) 2 SCC (Cri) 673] at SCC p. 261 para 518:

“The gruesome offences were committed with highest viciousness. Human lust was allowed to take such a demonic form. The accused may not be hardened criminals; but the cruel manner in which the gang rape was committed in the moving bus; iron rods were inserted in the private parts of the victim; and the coldness with which both the victims were thrown naked in cold wintery night of December, shocks the collective conscience of the society.”

Stating that if any case warranted award of death sentence, it was the Nirbhaya case, the Court said (SCC p. 261 para 518),

“If the dreadfulness displayed by the accused in committing the gang rape, unnatural sex, insertion of iron rod in the private parts of the victim does not fall in the “rarest of rare category”, then one may wonder what else would fall in that category.”

On July 9, 2018 , the Court had dismissed the review pleas filed by the three convicts in the case, saying no grounds have been made out by them for review of the 2017 verdict.

How the Nirbhaya case changed the law in India

  • On 22 December 2012, a judicial committee headed by Former Chief Justice of India, Justice S. Verma, was appointed by the Central government to submit a report within 30 days to suggest amendments to criminal law to sternly deal with sexual assault cases. The committee urged the public in general and particularly eminent jurists, legal professionals, NGOs, women’s groups and civil society to share “their views, knowledge and experience suggesting possible amendments in the criminal and other relevant laws to provide for quicker investigation, prosecution and trial, and also enhanced punishment for criminals accused of committing sexual assault of an extreme nature against women.”

A report was submitted after 29 days, after considering 80,000 suggestions received during the period. The report indicated that failures on the part of the government and police were the root cause behind crimes against women. Suggestions in the report included the need to review the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) in conflict areas, and setting the maximum punishment for rape as death penalty rather than life imprisonment. However, the committee did not favour lowering the age of a juvenile from 18 to 16.

  • On 26 December 2012, a Commission of Inquiry headed by former Delhi High Court judge Usha Mehra was set up to identify lapses, determine responsibility in relation to the incident, and suggest measures to make Delhi and the wider National Capital Region safer for women.
  • On 1 January 2013, a task force headed by the Union Home Secretary was established to look into women’s safety issues in Delhi and review the functioning of the city police force on a regular basis.
  • On 3 February 2013, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 was promulgated by President Pranab Mukherjee which provided for amendment of the Penal Code, Evidence Act, and Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, on laws related to sexual offences. The ordinance provides for the death penalty in cases of rape. According to Minister of Law and Justice Ashwani Kumar, 90 percent of the suggestions given by the Verma Committee Report were incorporated into the Ordinance. However, critics state that many key suggestions of the commission have been ignored, including the criminalisation of marital rape and trying military personnel accused of sexual offences under criminal law. The said ordinance was repealed by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 which brought important changes to the penal laws of india with respect to crimes committed against women.
  • Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 was passed which replaced the Indian juvenile delinquency law, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, and allows for juveniles in conflict with Law in the age group of 16–18, involved in Heinous Offences, to be tried as adults.

Hot Off The PressNews

The convicts are to be hanged at 5.30 a.m. and the legal remedies in the Nirbhaya Verdict are still being availed by the convicts.

Special Bench to sit for hearing at Supreme Court after dismissal of petition on stay of execution by Delhi HC.

Bench of R. Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A.S. Bopanna, JJ. decided, that

Petition of death row convict Pawan Gupta against rejection of his mercy petition and seeking stay on execution — dismissed; Convicts to be hanged at 5.30 am today.

Live Updates

Supreme Court to hear the petition of all four death row convicts, seeking stay on execution.

Advocate A.P. Singh has challenged the order passed by the Delhi High Court.

Bench of Justice R. Banumathi to sit for the hearing.

Hearing at the Supreme Court has begun. Less than 3 hours remaining for the scheduled execution of the Nirbhaya Convicts.

Supreme Court begins hearing in the petition of death row convict Pawan Gupta against rejection of his mercy plea by the President and seeking stay on execution. [ANI]

Bench of R. Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A.S. Bopanna, JJ. hearing the petition.

Advocate A.P. Singh makes his submissions before the Bench.

Advocate AP Singh appearing for convict Pawan shows to court school certificate, school register,& attendance register of Pawan claiming he was juvenile at the time of crime. Justice Bhushan says these documents were already filed by him before courts. [ANI]

Justice Bhushan asks what are the grounds on which AP Singh (advocate of convicts) is challenging the rejection of mercy petition? Justice Bhushan further says AP Singh is raising grounds which have already been argued. [ANI]

We are not inclined to entertain the plea Supreme Court observes.[ANI]

AP Singh, advocate of death row convicts says – I know they will be hanged but can it (execution) be stayed for two- three days to record (convict Pawan’s) statement. [ANI]

Justice Banumathi is dictating the Order.

Supreme Court dismisses the petition of death row convict Pawan Gupta against rejection of his mercy plea by the President and seeking stay on execution.

A. P Singh, advocate of death row convicts asks court to allow family members of convicts to meet them for the last time for 5-10 minutes. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta says jail rules doesn’t permit it and it is painful for both sides. [ANI]

Patiala House Courts, Delhi
Hot Off The PressNews

Delhi Court issues a fresh death warrant against the four convicts. They are to be hanged at 5.30 am on March 20, 2020.

The above order of the Court came after the mercy petition of one of the convicts was rejected by the President yesterday.

Continue reading “BREAKING | Nirbhaya Gang-Rape Murder case | Delhi Court sets the execution date of Nirbhaya Convicts to be — 20-03-2020”

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The Centre has moved the Supreme Court for fixing a seven-day deadline for executing death penalty of condemned prisoners. The plea of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) assumes significance in view of the the death row convicts in the sensational Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case of 2012 filing review, curative and mercy petitions, which has delayed their hanging.

The MHA’s plea sought a direction from the Supreme Court in fixing the deadline for filing of curative pleas after the rejection of review petitions. It also sought a direction that

“if the convict of death sentence wants to file mercy petition, it would be mandatory for a convict of death sentence to do so only within a period of seven days from the date of receipt of death warrant issued by the competent court”

The MHA submitted that the Court should

“mandate all the competent courts, state governments, prison authorities in the country to issue death warrant of a convict within seven days of the rejection of his mercy petition and to execute death sentence within seven days thereafter irrespective of the stage of review petition/curative petition/mercy petition of his co-convicts”.

The Court had, on January 20, had rejected the plea of a death row convict in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case challenging the Delhi High Court order which had dismissed his claim of being a juvenile at the time of offence saying he cannot re-agitate the issue by filing fresh application.

A Delhi court has recently issued fresh death warrants for February 1 against the four convicts — Vinay Sharma (26), Akshay Kumar Singh (31), Mukesh Kumar Singh (32) and Pawan (26) — in the case after their hanging got delayed from January 22 due to pending petitions.

The 23-year-old paramedic student, referred to as Nirbhaya, was gang-raped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012, in a moving bus in south Delhi by six people before she was thrown out on the road.

(Source: PTI)