Parents of 'Nirbhaya' have described the Supreme Court's decision to re-examine the death penalty awarded to the four convicts in the sensational rape and murder case as 'travesty of justice' and the amicus curiae as 'friends of the convicts'.
Both the senior lawyers, Raju Ramachandran and Sanjay Hegde, appointed by the court as amicus curiae in the case have refused to comment on the allegations.
The parents sought to counter the arguments presented by the amicus in the court by saying, "The amicus is giving out various reasons as why the convicts should not be hanged and one of them is that they are young and poor. I want to ask him, 'wasn't our daughter young? Aren't we poor who were saving to spend for the education of our daughter whom they finished off?'"
As per the procedure, the SC needs to confirm the death sentence and only then the four convicts can be hanged. The court is also hearing the appeal filed by the four convicts Mukesh (24), Pawan (20), Vinay (22) and Akshay (29) challenging the death penalty.
In its order on July 18, 2016, the Supreme Court said: "We may hasten to clarify the amicus, the learned friends of the court, shall assist the court with regard to the case and not with regard to any particular petitioner" (convicts who have challenged the death sentence awarded by trial court and upheld by the Delhi HC).
On Friday, giving a new twist to the case, the SC bench mentioned, it would re-examine the death penalty after accepting the submission of Ramachandran that there has been violation of the CrPC with regards to the sentencing of the four convicts.
The amicus had primarily argued those charges and the nature of crime alleged against each of them were separate and all of them could not have been sentenced to death in one brush without hearing them separately.
The parents, who have been attending various fast track court hearings since December 2012, said they were shocked beyond belief how senior lawyers were able to turn the case on its head in so short a period. We have been denied justice, first the juvenile convict was let off and now these four may also escape the gallows," said Singh.
On the night of December 16, 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.
Nirbhaya (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.
The incident stirred widespread public outrage forcing the government to rewrite rape laws and enhancing the punishment for all crimes involving sexual harassment of a woman.