Executions do not eradicate violence against women, Amnesty International India said today after the apex court dismissed pleas of three of the four convicts seeking a review of the death penalty awarded to them, in the sensational December 16, 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case.
Noting that there was no evidence to show death penalty acted as a deterrent for sexual violence, the human rights body said the government must allocate adequate resources for the effective implementation of laws, improve conviction rates and ensure certainty of justice in all cases.
“Unfortunately executions do not eradicate violence against women. There is no evidence to show that death penalty acts as a deterrent for sexual violence or any other crime. Instead, the government must allocate adequate resources for the effective implementation of laws, improve conviction rates and ensure certainty of justice in all cases, Asmita Basu, Amnesty International India’s Programmes director, said.
“Even the Justice Verma Committee, whose recommendations were relied upon to reform the laws on sexual assault and rape, had opposed imposing death penalty in cases of rape,” she said.
A Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan today rejected the review pleas filed by Mukesh (29), Pawan Gupta (22) and Vinay Sharma (23), saying no grounds have been made out by them for review of the verdict.
The court said the death row convicts failed to point out “error apparent on the face of record” in the judgment.
Amnesty International India said in 2017, India was one of only three countries in the world which expanded the scope of death penalty by adopting new laws.
In April 2018, the Centre had approved an ordinance introducing death penalty for those convicted of raping girls aged 12 years or younger, it said.
“All too often lawmakers in the country hold up capital punishment as a symbol of their resolve to tackle crime, and choose to ignore more difficult and effective solutions like improving investigations, prosecutions and support for victims’ families. Far-reaching procedural and institutional reforms are the need of the hour,” Basu added.
The bench also ruled that the three convicts were heard elaborately during the stage of their appeal against the Delhi High Court’s judgment, and no case had been made out by them for review of the apex court’s verdict upholding the death penalty.