Delhi gangrape: Convicts invoke Mahatma to oppose death penalty

delhi gang rapeInvoking 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.


Moot court competition won by Jodhpur National Law University

lawMoot competition which was organised by in the DU’s Campus Law Center has been won by The National Law University (NLU), Jodhpur today.

The three-day-long competition saw participation from as many as 54 different universities and institutions of India as well as of the UK, the US, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The NLU, Jodhpur bagged the first award and the North Umbria University of England was declared the runners up, it said, adding that the prizes were given by Supreme Court judge Justice S S Nijjar.

The final round of the competition on the topic ‘Narcotics trial by media and defence entrapment’ was judged by three sitting judges of the Delhi High Court, justices Reva Khetrapal, Manmohan and Indermeet Kaur.
The prize for the best speaker was bagged by a student of National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata.

The competition is held every year since 2005 in memory of K K Luthra, a renowned Delhi-based criminal lawyer.

Earlier, Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai had inaugurated the competition.

India’s first child witness court room inaugurated

India’s first child witness court room (CWCR), designed to present a friendly image of courts for child witnesses, was today inaugurated at the Karkardooma courts complex.

The CWCR has been opened to help children, who are sometimes witnesses in cases pertaining to sexual offences, to depose freely in the court.

The inauguration was done in the presence of justice Altamas Kabir of Supreme Court, Delhi High Court Acting chief justice AK Sikri, chairperson of the programme justice Gita Mittal and justices Reva Khetrapal and GP Mittal.

Besides them other judicial officers of the trial courts, including district judges Sunita Gupta and PS Teji, were also present on the occasion.

The new court room will be functional on the sixth floor of the court building. It has been designed with the objective to provide child witnesses an environment conducive for them as against the usual tense atmosphere of the court.

The court room will look no less than a child play area filled with toys, books, It will have coloured walls and a small pantry. The room will also have a one-way mirror window from where the child would not be able to see the accused.

While the accused will sit separately, child witnesses along with attendants will be seated near the judge. The judge’s dais, which is usually 4-5 ft high from the ground, has also been lowered to make them feel comfortable.

The child will also have a separate entrance to the sixth floor court room. He/she will be taken to the court room through a separate lift which is used only by judges.

Justice Kabir welcomed the inauguration of CWCR, which has been taken in compliance with the directions of the high court committee to monitor proper implementation of guidelines laid down by it and by the Supreme Court for dealing with cases of sexual offences and child witnesses.

Speaking at the function, Justice Kabir said this step will prove beneficial in the future and improvements will be made in this initiative after further study.

Underlining the importance of CWCR, Justice Mittal said it will help in rape cases involving minors where the offender is known to the victim.