Raju Ramachandran, the Supreme Court-appointed amicus curiae in the Nirbhaya gang rape case of 2012,  has told the apex court that the death penalty awarded to all the four accused in the case should be set aside.

Ramachandran has argued that the trial court didn’t give the accused a fair trial and so the death penalty should be set aside.

Amicus curiae is a person who is not a party to the case but acts as an impartial adviser to a court in a particular case.

Here’s are his arguments against the death penalty:

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  • The court didn’t put any of the accused to notice on the question of imposition of the death sentence
  • Accused didn’t get sufficient time to reflect on the question of death penalty
  • None of the accused were heard in person
  • The court didn’t consider the circumstances of the accused which could affect the sentence
  • The court didn’t give separate reasons for each of the accused and went for a ‘one-penalty-fits-all’ order 
  • The court failed to put the accused to notice of the range of mitigating factors they could have pleaded

The trial court had passed its order on September 11, 2013 and it was confirmed by the High Court. 

You can read the entire submission here.

What next?

So this submission was the first of two parts submitted to the apex court recently. On Friday, the second part of the submission will be made, which will deal with how the courts failed to strike a proper balance between “the aggravating and mitigating factors while pronouncing the death sentence”.

CNN-IBN sought an opinion from former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju on the submission, who trashed it. 

Katju told the channel that “there was no question of looking at mitigating factors in this case as the gravity of the crime demanded death penalty.”

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And well, coming from Ramachandran, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise because he has been a vocal anti-death penalty advocate for long. As an amicus curiae in the appeal of Ajmal Kasab in the 2008 Mumbai attacks case, he had submitted that Kasab didn’t deserve death but life imprisonment. Ramachandran, known for his honest approach in court, also punched holes in a report of the SC-appointed SIT which gave a clean chit to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.

Four accused were sentenced to death in September 2013

Out of the six accused in the Nirbhaya case, one is dead and another was sentenced to time in a reformation home because he was a minor at the time of the incident. 

The rest were awarded the death sentence in September 2013 after which they appealed against the judgement in the Supreme Court. 

The woman, a 23-year-old paramedic, was brutally gang-raped by six persons in a moving bus in south Delhi and thrown out of the vehicle with a male friend on the night of December 16, 2012. She later died in a Singapore hospital on December 29. The incident