Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, two of the convicts on death row for the brutal torture and gangrape of a 23-year-old paramedical student on December 16 contested the trial court’s sentence today, telling the Delhi High Court even the father of the nation was against capital punishment.
Commencing the arguments for convicts Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur before a bench of justices Reva Khetrapal and Pratibha Rani, advocate A P Singh said awarding “death penalty will not stop crime in society” and the duo don’t deserve deterrent punishment in this case.
Quoting Gandhi who had said “I cannot in all conscience agree to any one being sent to the gallows. God alone can take a life because he alone gives it,” Singh argued that death penalty is not the solution to stop crime.
“Death penalty will kill the criminals but that will not stop the crime in the society,” the lawyer said adding that the death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights….”
The court is hearing the final arguments on a day-to-day basis on the trial court’s reference to it for confirmation of death sentence awarded to four convicts- Mukesh, Pawan Kumar Gupta, Vinay and Akshay as well as their appeals against the trial court’s judgement.
On the night of December 16, last year, the four convicts along with Ram Singh, who died during trial, and a juvenile had gangraped and brutally tortured the student in a bus after luring her and her 28-year-old male friend, who was also assaulted, on board the vehicle before dumping them by roadside. The girl succumbed to her injuries on December 29, 2012 at a Singapore hospital.
Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna had held the four accused guilty of gangrape and “cold blooded” murder of a “defenceless” girl in a premeditated manner.
Taking the plea of alibi, the lawyer today claimed that his client Vinay was not associated with the incident as he was taking part in a Christmas celebrations that had held in Ravidas colony on the day of incident.
Video footage is also available and the trial court had ignored this evidence, Singh contended.
Claiming that Vinay is a minor and is doing his BA from Delhi University (DU) and the trial court had rejected his plea for verification of his age, the counsel said that court should pass an order for ossification test of his client to find out the real age of Vinay.