Chief Justice SA Bobde on Tuesday recused from hearing the review petition of a death row convict in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case. The plea, by Akshay Kumar Singh through his lawyer AP Singh, sought the review of the 2017 judgement of the SC that upheld the death penalty Akshay Kumar Singh. CJI Bobde, who was heading a three-judge bench, said that he will constitute a new bench on Wednesday at 10.30 am who will take up the matter.
The bench of CJI Bobde, Justice R Banumathi and Justice Ashok Bhushan heard the petition at 2 pm. The top court had already dismissed the review pleas of three other convicts also on death row. They are Mukesh (30), Pawan Gupta (23) and Vinay Sharma (24).
The court found no merit in conducting the review and upheld the capital punishment given by the trial court and confirmed by the Delhi High Court in the case. Ram Singh, another accused in the case, allegedly committed suicide in the jail. A juvenile accused, convicted by a juvenile justice board, was released from a reformation home after serving a three-year term.
The 23-year-old paramedic student was gangraped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012, inside a moving bus. Later, she was thrown at an isolated place by the accused and died on December 29, 2012.
The convicts, except Akshay, can avail legal remedy by filing curative pleas in the top court against their conviction and death penalty. After exhausting the legal channel, the convicts can send mercy plea to the President. If the President dismisses the mercy pleas of the accused, then the authorities would need death warrants from a local court to carry out executions.