Judgment Review: Supreme Court’s Ruling on the Capital Punishment Appeal

Delve into the recent Supreme Court judgment review regarding the capital punishment appeal. This landmark case involves the confirmation of death penalty for the accused in a heinous crime. The Court’s decision has far-reaching implications for the legal landscape. Stay informed on the latest developments in the case.


  • The criminal appeal filed by the petitioner had been dismissed by the Court previously.
  • Evidence firmly established the presence of the petitioner at the scene of the incident and his involvement in the commission of rape on the prosecutrix.
  • Evidence included testimony of the injured eye-witness and multiple dying declarations of the prosecutrix.
  • The trial court convicted the petitioner and other accused under various sections of the IPC and imposed death penalty.
  • The Review Petition has been filed by the petitioner-accused to review the judgment confirming the conviction and death penalty.
  • The prosecutrix was shifted to Mt. Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore where she eventually died due to critical condition.
  • The accused, including the petitioner, misbehaved and gang-raped the prosecutrix in a moving bus.
  • PW-1 was beaten up by the accused with iron rods, and his clothes were torn off.
  • The dying declarations of the prosecutrix named the accused including the petitioner.
  • Evidence showed that the petitioner was the helper in the bus where the incident occurred.
  • Medical evidence indicated that the petitioner could have caused a bite mark on the prosecutrix.
  • DNA evidence linked the petitioner to the crime through matching profiles with the blood-stained clothes of the prosecutrix and PW-1.
  • Recovery of items belonging to PW-1 at the behest of the petitioner further linked him to the crime.
  • The accused also committed unnatural offenses and inserted an iron rod in the private parts of the prosecutrix.
  • The prosecutrix’s dying declarations were recorded at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi.
  • The accused also took away belongings of the prosecutrix and PW-1 and threw them from the moving bus.
  • The accused had filed Criminal Appeal Nos.609-610 of 2017 before this Court.

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  • The petitioner, through his counsel Mr. A.P. Singh, raised a general case against capital punishment, arguing that only the poor and downtrodden are more likely to face the death sentence.
  • The petitioner’s family background and lack of criminal antecedents were highlighted to argue against being considered under ‘the rarest of rare cases’ deserving the death penalty.
  • Previous contentions against death penalty based on its abolition in other countries were dismissed in earlier review petitions.
  • The petitioner argued that death penalty violates human rights, the right to life, and the principle of non-violence.
  • Concerns were raised regarding the dying declarations, specifically questioning the validity and reliability of the second dying declaration.
  • The petitioner’s counsel contended that the investigation in the case was flawed and unreliable, seeking a review of the judgment.
  • General contentions against capital punishment and the investigating agency’s professional skills were brought up in the petition.
  • Grounds raised in the petition alleging improper investigation and manipulation of evidence are too general and not specific.
  • Petitioner and other accused have been falsely implicated due to media pressure.
  • Contentions raised against the investigation process include recording of witnesses’ statements under Section 161 Cr.P.C., manner of arrest of the accused, and conduct of test identification parade being doubtful.
  • The contentions against the investigation have been raised at trial court, High Court, and this Court, but have all been thoroughly considered and rejected.
  • The learned counsel’s contention against the investigation lacks merit.

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  • Scope of review is limited and review cannot be entertained except in cases of error apparent on the face of the record.
  • Article 137 of the Constitution of India empowers the Supreme Court to review any judgment pronounced or made.
  • Review is subject to the provisions of any law made by the Parliament or any rule made under Article 145 of the Constitution of India.
  • Order XLVII Rule 1 of Supreme Court Rules, 2013 governs the review process.
  • The Court may review its judgment or order.
  • No application for review will be entertained in a civil proceeding except on the ground mentioned in Order 47 Rule 1 of the Code.
  • In a criminal proceeding, review is only allowed on the ground of an error apparent on the face of the record.
  • The plea of alibi taken by the petitioner is rejected as an afterthought.
  • The contentions raised by the petitioner, such as the CCTV footage examination, false implication of a bus, and detention of a witness, were previously considered and rejected.
  • Allegations of bribery towards a witness do not affect the credibility of the evidence.
  • Opinions expressed in a book by Sunil Gupta and subsequent events raised in the review petition are not grounds for review.
  • The Court affirmed the rejection of the plea of alibi based on the evidence provided.
  • The Court did not find any error in the consideration of evidence and rejection of the plea of alibi.
  • The Court considered the aggravating and mitigating circumstances along with affidavits submitted by the accused in deciding the death sentence.
  • The use of an iron rod and absence of certain injuries were adequately addressed in the judgment.
  • Arguments regarding the departure of the petitioner were refuted, and the plea of alibi was reaffirmed.
  • Mitigating circumstances presented by the defense were outweighed by the aggravating factors, leading to the confirmation of the death penalty.
  • The dying declarations of the victim were thoroughly analyzed by the Court to establish the credibility of the prosecution’s case.
  • The scope and parameters of review jurisdiction were clearly defined, indicating that the same points cannot be raised repeatedly.
  • The rejection of the alibi plea was upheld based on the evidence presented.
  • Any conclusion reached by the Court upon the evaluation of evidence cannot be challenged in a review petition unless there is a clear error on the face of the record.
  • In a review petition, the court cannot reappreciate the evidence and reach a different conclusion.
  • Review can only be allowed if there is an error apparent on the face of the record leading to a miscarriage of justice.
  • Repeating old arguments or minor mistakes are not sufficient grounds for review.
  • Review is permitted only when there is a material error manifest on the face of the judgment.
  • Scope of review is limited to errors apparent on the face of the record in criminal proceedings.
  • Order XL Rule 1 of the Supreme Court Rules limits review grounds in criminal proceedings to errors apparent on the face of the judgment.
  • No error found in the appreciation of evidence or findings of the judgment dated 05.05.2017
  • Grounds raised in the review petition are repetitive of arguments in earlier petitions
  • Repeated arguments cannot be raised again

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  • The review petition filed by the co-accused was dismissed on 09.07.2018 for lack of merit.


Case Number: R.P.(Crl.) No.-000602-000603 / 2019

Click here to read/download original judgement

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