A bench headed b y justice Dipak Misra took the decision after accepting the contention of the two senior lawyers Raju Ramachandran and Sanjay Hegde who had been appointed as amicus curiae in the case.
Both of them had significantly argued that several principles of code of criminal procedure had not been followed while giving death sentence to all four convicts.
Significantly, Ramachandran had argued that charges and nature of crime alleged against each one of them were separate and all of them could not have been sentenced to death in one brush without hearing them separately on the point of sentence
Ramachandran had pointed out that the apex court had held in the famous 1980 Bachan Singh case that a balance sheet of “mitigating and aggravating circumstances” have to be drawn before sentencing a person to death.
He contended that the young age of the convicts, the fact that they had no criminal antecedents, the crime being “not pre-meditated” were mitigating factors in their favour.
Indian courts hand out capital punishment in the “rarest of rare” cases, but it is rarely carried out.
“The crime was not premeditated,” Ramachandran had said . “There is no evidence on record to deem the rape and murder was a pre-planned act. The accused did not know victim and had any occasion to believe she would be present at the relevant spot on the fateful day. Trial court failed to even consider this factor which has been treated as a mitigating factor.”
In 2012, five adult men and a juvenile lured the 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist and her male friend onto a bus in Delhi, where they repeatedly raped the woman and beat both with a metal bar before dumping them on a road. The woman, later dubbedNirbhaya (meaning fearless), died two weeks later of her injuries. Four of the adults were sentenced to death while the fifth hanged himself in prison.
On August 31, 2013, the juvenile was convicted and sentenced to three years in a reformation home. He was released in December 2015.
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