Delhi To Challenge Supreme Court Order To Free 3 Rape-Murder Convicts

Chawla rape case: Supreme Court acquitted three people last week. (file)

New Delhi:

The Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government will challenge the Supreme Court’s order acquitting three convicts in the 2012 gang-rape and murder case.

Delhi Lt Governor VK Saxena this morning approved the filing of a review petition in the Supreme Court challenging the acquittal of the three, days after the victim’s parents met him saying they were “broken” by the verdict.

They also sought police protection out of fear. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati will represent the Delhi government in the case.

The three accused were accused of abducting, raping and murdering a 19-year-old woman in February 2012 in Chawla, Delhi, months before the Nirbhaya case. Three days later, his body was recovered from a field in Haryana with multiple injuries. Severe injuries suggest that he was hit with car tools and earthenware.

In February 2014, a Delhi court convicted the accused and sentenced them to death. The death sentence was confirmed by the Delhi High Court on 26 August 2014, saying they were “predatory” roaming the streets and “looking for prey”.

They challenged the verdict of the High Court in the Supreme Court and appealed to reduce their sentence. A bench of Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Bela M Trivedi set aside the High Court verdict on November 7, noting that the prosecution had failed to provide “leading, strong, clinching and clear evidence against the accused”.

In the Supreme Court, the Delhi Police cited the heinous nature of the crime and argued against any leniency for the guilty.

Lawyers for the convicts appealed to the Supreme Court against the death penalty and cited their age, family background and past criminal record to press for a commutation of the sentence.

After the Supreme Court’s verdict, the girl’s parents said they were disappointed. “We will continue our legal fight,” the girl’s father said, describing their 12-year struggle for justice.

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