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Vinay Sharma vs The State N.C.T. Of Delhi on 9 July, 2018

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REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURICTION

REVIEW PETITION (CRL.) NOS.671­673 OF 2017

IN

CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS.608  609­610 OF 2017

VINAY SHARMA  ANR. … PETITIONERS

VERSUS

STATE OF NCT OF DELHI  ORS. … RESPONDENTS

J U D G M E N T

ASHOK BHUSHAN, J.

These   review   petitions   have   been   filed   by   two

applicants   Vinay   Sharma­accused   No.1   and   Pawan   Kumar

Gupta­accused  No.2  to  review  the  judgment  of  this  Court

dated   05.05.2017   by   which   judgment   this   Court   had

dismissed   the   criminal   appeals   filed   by   the   petitioners

challenging   the   order   of   the   High   Court   confirming   the
Signature Not Verified

Digitally signed by
CHETAN KUMAR
death reference and dismissing the criminal appeals filed
Date: 2018.07.09
18:17:26 IST
Reason:

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by   the   petitioners   against   the   order   of   conviction   and

award of death sentence. 

2. Both the petitioners were tried for rape and murder

of   a   23   years’   age   lady   ­Nirbhaya   (changed   name).   The

trial   court   convicted   the   petitioners   along   with   three

others   and   awarded   death   sentence   to   all   the   four

accused.   Death   reference   No.6   of   2013   Was   sent   by   the

trial court to the High Court. Separate criminal appeals

were   also   filed   by   the   petitioners   challenging   the

judgment   of   the   trial   court.   Delhi   High   Court   vide   its

judgment dated 13.03.2014 confirmed the death penalty to

all   the   four   convicts   including   petitioners,   Vinay

Sharma,   appellant   No.1   in   Criminal   Appeal   No.   609   of

2017,   Pawan   Kumar   Gupta,   appellant   No.1   in   Criminal

Appeal Nos.608 of 2017. The appeals were dismissed by the

judgment of this Court dated 05.05.2017. The petitioners

aggrieved by the said judgment dated 05.05.2017 by which

all   the   appeals   were   dismissed   have   filed   these   review

petitions   praying   for   reviewing   the   judgment   dated

05.05.2017.

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3. We   have   heard   the   learned   counsel,   Shri   A.P.   Singh

appearing   for   the   petitioners   and   Shri   Sidharth   Luthra,

learned senior counsel for the State. 

4. Shri A.P. Singh learned counsel for the peititoners

in   support   of   the   review   petitions   has   urged   several

grounds.  Shri  Singh submits that  death  penalty  in  India

needs to be abolished. He submits that there are several

reasons   for   opposing   death   penalty   which   broadly

speaking,   they   fall   under   two   categories,   moral   and

practical.  This also  goes  against  the  principle of  non­

violence   that   India   has   advocated   for   decades.   In   the

year   1966,   the   Bill   introducing   death   penalty   abolition

was   passed   by   the   House   of   Parliament   in   England.   He

further   submitted   that   in   a   large   number   of   countries

death   penalty   has   been   abolished.   In   his   submission   he

has   referred   the   names   of   several   Latin   American

countries and  several  Australian States. 

5. Apart from above, several other contentions have been

advanced by Shri A.P. Singh which we proceed to note in

seriatim. Shri Singh submits that investigation and trial
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has been carried out with the sole purpose of survival of

the   prosecuting   agency.   The   investigation   is   engaged   in

maladroit effort to book the vulnerable and the innocent

so as to disguise and cover there inefficiency to catch

the   real   culprits.   The   political   class   is   using

investigating   agencies   as   tools   for   partisan   political

objective. 

6. PW.1,   during   his   cross­examination   was   confronted

with   his   statement   Ex.PW­1/A   qua   the   factum   of   not

disclosing the use of iron rod, the description of Bus,

the name of assailants either in MLC Ex.PW­51/A or in his

complaint   Ex.PW­1/A.   The   Bus,   Ex.P­1   has   been   falsely

implicated   in   the   present   case.   CCTV   footage   was   not

properly  examined  to  check  all  possible Buses  plying  on

the   said   route.     The   Bus   was   taken   to   Tyagraj   Stadium

instead of the Police Station to avoid the media and to

facilitate the planting of evidence. 

7. That the three dying declarations have been contrived

and   deserved   to   be   kept   out   of   consideration   and   the

dying   declarations   do   not   inspire   confidence   for
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variations in them relating to the number of assailants,

the description of Bus, the identity of accused etc. If

at  all  any  dying  declaration  is to  be  relied  on,  it is

first   dying   declaration   made   on   16.12.2012   and   recorded

by PW­49, Dr. Rashmi Ahuja, which dying declaration only

states that there were 4 to 5 persons in the Bus. 

8. In   the   statement   recorded   in   MLC   Ex.PW­49/A

prosecutrix   has   neither   named   any   of   the   accused   nor

mentioned   the   factum   of   iron   rod   being   used   by   the

accused   persons.   The   prosecutrix   could   not   have   given

such  a lengthy  dying  declaration  on 21.12.2012  when she

was   continuously   on   morphine.   Third   dying   declaration

recorded   by   the   Metropolitan   Magistrate,   PW­30,   on

25.12.2012, through gesture and writings is controverted

by   allegations   of   false   medical   fitness   certificate   and

absence   of   videography.     The   use   of   iron   rod   was   not

mentioned   by   PW­1   in   his   statement.   Had   the   iron   rod

been   really   inserted   through   the   vagina,   it   would   have

first   destroyed   the   uterus   before   the   intestines   were

pulled   out.   There   were   no   rod   related   injuries   in   her
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uterus   and   medical   science   too   does   not   assist   the

prosecution in their claim. 

9. The  DNA  test  can   not  be  treated  as  accurate,  since

there   was   blood   transfusion   as   the   prosecutrix   required

blood   and   when   there   is   mixing   of   blood,   the

DNA profile is likely to differ.  

10. The   High   Court   has   failed   to   appreciate   that

petitioner No.1, Vinay Sharma on the date of incident and

time was in a musical programme arranged by S.C.C. unit

of Church in his locality and he was there from 8.15 p.m.

to  11/12  p.m.  on  16.12.2012.  The  presence  of  petitioner

No.1   in   musical   show   has   been   witnessed   by   defence

witnesses who had deposed before the Court. Ram Babu,DW­

10 had also videographed the show from the mobile phone

of   petitioner   No.1   which   was   produced   before   the   trial

court. 

11. The   application   for   ossification   test   submitted   by

petitioner   No.1   was   wrongly   turned   down   by   the   trial

court. The petitioner was actually born on 01.03.1995 but

his   date   of   birth   given   by   his   father   was   01.03.1994
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which was only for the purpose of getting him admitted in

the MCD School. The petitioner was only 17 years 8 months

and 15 days old at the time of incident. 

12. The   real   date   of   birth   of   petitioner   No.2   is

08.10.1996 and he was also minor on the date of incident.

The   petitioners   were   not   habitual   offenders.   Number   of

dacoits have surrendered for the last several decades and

have reformed themselves. 

13. Shri   Sidharth   Luthra,   learned   senior   counsel

appearing  for  the  State refuting  the  submissions  of the

petitioners   submitted   that   the   petitioners   already   in   a

long hearing of the appeals before this Court have made

all   possible   submissions   which   have   been   considered   by

this Court while deciding the appeals on 05.05.2017, the

review   petition   is   nothing   but   an   effort   by   the

petitioners   to   re­argue   the   appeals   on   merits   which   is

not permissible under the law. No grounds have been made

out   to   consider   the   review   petitions.   In   so   far   as   the

submission   of   the   learned   counsel   for   the   petitioners

that the death penalty be abolished in India, Shri Luthra
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submits that the said submission need not to be gone into

in   these   review   petitions.   It   is   submitted   that   death

penalty   has   already   been   upheld   by   this   Court   by   the

Constitution   Bench   of   this   Court   in  Bachan   Singh   vs.

State of Punjab, (1980) 2 SCC 684.  He submits that death

penalty   being   still   in   the   statute   book   it   is   not   open

for   the   petitioners   to   argue   that   the   death   penalty   be

abolished   in   this   country.   The   abolition   of   the   death

penalty   is   a   legislative   function   and   unless   the

Parliament   passes   an   amending   Act   it   is   not   for   the

Courts to consider the said submission. 

14. With   regard   to   the   submissions   of   the   petitioners

that   investigation   was   faulty   and   prosecuting   agencies

had   roped   in   the   petitioners,   it   is   submitted   that

prosecution   was   scientifically   carried   out   in   efficient

manner   which   has   also   been   noted   by   this   Court   and   any

person   against   the   prosecution   are   unjustified   and   have

to be ignored. 

15. The   evidence   of   PW­1   and   all   infirmities   which   are

sought to be pointed out in these review petitions have
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already   been   considered   and   gone   into   by   this   Court.

Learned   counsel   has   referred   to   in   paragraphs   65   to   97

and   425   to   434   of   the   judgment   where   this   Court   has

thoroughly  considered  all  submissions  regarding evidence

of PW­1 and this Court has rejected the inconsistencies,

shortcomings   and   omissions   as   being   pointed   by   the

petitioners.  Coming to  the  submission  that  the  Bus, P­1

has   been     falsely   implicated,   Shri   Luthra   submits   that

apart   from   CCTV   footage   where   Bus   was   noticed   twice

passing   in   front   of   the   hotel,   there   were   other

evidences,   namely   finger   prints,   wound   stains   and   other

objects obtained from the Bus which proved that the Bus

was involved in the incident. Shri Luthra has referred to

paragraphs 104 and 105 where this argument has been noted

and rejected by this Court.

16. On the submissions raised by the learned counsel for

the petitioners regarding dying declarations, Shri Luthra

submits   that   all   arguments   pertaining   to   dying

declarations have  been considered and dealt with by this

Court   in   paragraphs   148   to   192   of   the   judgment   dated
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05.05.2017 and petitioners cannot be allowed to reagitate

the same which have already been considered and rejected

by   this   Court.   With   regard   to   first   dying   declaration

which was the case history recorded by Dr. Rashmi Ahuja,

this   Court   has   considered   all   aspects   and   had   already

held that there was no infirmity in noticing the facts as

could be disclosed by the prosecutrix at that time when

she   had   undergone   traumatic   experience   immediately

before. 

17. The non­mention of use of iron rod in the MLC or PW­

1’s statement has also been considered by this Court and

this  Court  had  held and found  use  of  iron  rod  from  the

evidence. The statement of PW­1 pertaining to use of iron

rod   to   injure   the   prosecutrix   has   also   been   considered

and   noticed   by   this   Court.   The   DNA   reports   have   been

examined   in   detail   by   this   Court   including   blood

transfusion which has also been considered in paragraphs

233­234. With regard to alibi of Vinay Sharma that he, at

the relevant time, was in a musical programme, this Court

in   its   judgment   dated   05.05.2017   has   considered   and
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rejected the plea of alibi after consideration of Defence

evidence.   The   same   argument   cannot   be   allowed   to   be

raised in the review petition.  In so far as the argument

that petitioner No.1, Vinay  Sharma was a juvenile at the

time   of   the   commission   of   the   offence,   Shri   Luthra

mentioned   order   of   the   trial   court   dated   10.01.2013

which mentioned that age verification report of Vinay and

Pawan have been received and they do not dispute the age

verification report filed by the IO. The prosecuiton has

placed   the   certified   copy   of   the   admission   register   of

the first  attended  school  along with  the  certified  copy

of the admission form of the first class of accused­Vinay

Sharma   and   trial   court   after   considering   all   evidences

had held that Vinay Sharma was more than 18 years of age

at the time of commission of offence. On the claim that

Pawan was a juvenile, Shri Luthra referred to the order

dated   10.01.2013   where   age   verification   report   of   Pawan

has   been   received   and   also   certified   copies   had   been

filed on record. The report had referred to the written

statement of the parents of both these accused where they

have   confirmed   the   age   of   their   wards.     There   was   no
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infirmity   in   the   trial   court   taking   decision   that   both

were   major   and   the   trial   court   proceeded   accordingly.

There   is   no   substance   in   the   submission   raised   by   the

learned counsel for the petitioners. 

18. We have considered the submissions of the parties and

perused the records.

19. Before we enter into the submissions raised in these

review petitions, it is useful to recapitulate the scope

and   grounds   available   for   exercise   of   jurisdiction   by

this Court under Article 137. Order XLVII Rule 1 of the

Supreme   Court   Rules,   2013   dealing   with   review   is   as

follows: 

“i.   The   Court   may   review   its   judgment   or
order,   but   no   application   for   review   will   be
entertained   in   a   civil   proceeding   except   on
the ground mentioned in Order XLVII, rule 1 of
the Code, and in a criminal proceeding except
on the ground of an error apparent on the face
of the record.”

20. An   application   to   review   a   judgment   is   not   to   be

lightly   entertained   and   this   Court   could   exercise   its

review jurisdiction only when those grounds are made out
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as   provided   in   Order   XLVII   Rule   1   of   the   Supreme   Court

Rules, 2013 framed under Article 145 of the Constitution

of India.  This Court in Sow Chandra Kante and another v.

Sheikh  Habib,  (1975)  1 SCC  674  speaking  through  Justice

V.R. Krishna Iyer on review has stated the following in

para 10:

“10. A review of a judgment is a serious step
and   reluctant   resort   to   it   is   proper   only
where a glaring omission or patent mistake or
like   grave   error   has   crept   in   earlier   by
judicial   fallibility.   A   mere   repetition,
through   different   counsel,   of   old   and
overruled   arguments,   a   second   trip   over
ineffectually covered ground or minor mistakes
of   inconsequential   import   are   obviously
insufficient.”

21. As   per   rule,   review   in   a   criminal   proceeding   is

permissible only on the ground of error apparent on the

face   of   the   record.   This   Court   in  P.N.   Eswara   Iyer   and

others v.  Registrar, Supreme Court of  India,  (1980)  4

SCC 680  while  examining  the  review jurisdiction  of this

Court  vis a vis  criminal and civil proceedings had made

the following observations in paras 34 and 35:  

“34.   The   rule,   on   its   face,   affords   a   wider
set of grounds for review for orders in  civil
proceedings,   but   limits   the   ground   vis­a­vis
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criminal   proceedings  to   “errors   apparent  on
the   face  of   the   record”.   If   at   all,   the
concern   of   the   law   to   avoid   judicial   error
should   be   heightened   when   life   or   liberty   is
in peril since civil penalties are often less
traumatic. So, it is reasonable to assume that
the   framers   of   the   rules   could   not   have
intended   a   restrictive   review   over   criminal
orders   or   judgments.   It   is   likely   to   be   the
other   way   about.   Supposing   an   accused   is
sentenced   to   death   by   the   Supreme   Court   and
the “deceased” shows up in court and the court
discovers the tragic treachery of the recorded
testimony. Is the court helpless to review and
set   aside   the   sentence   of   hanging?   We   think
not. The power to review is in 
Article 137 and
it   is   equally   wide   in   all   proceedings.   The
rule   merely   canalises   the   flow   from   the
reservoir   of   power.   The   stream   cannot   stifle
the   source.   Moreover,   the   dynamics   of
interpretation   depend   on   the   demand   of   the
context   and   the   lexical   limits   of   the   test.

Here   “record”   means   any   material   which   is
already on record or may, with the permission
of the court, be brought on record. If justice
summons   the   Judges   to   allow   a   vital   material
in,   it   becomes   part   of   the   record;   and   if
apparent   error   is   there,   correction   becomes
necessitous.

35.   The   purpose   is   plain,   the   language   is
elastic   and   interpretation   of   a   necessary
power   must   naturally   be   expansive.   The
substantive power is derived from 
Article 137
and   is   as   wide   for   criminal   as   for   civil
proceedings.   Even   the   difference   in
phraseology   in   the   rule   (Order   40   Rule   2)
must, therefore, be read to encompass the same
area   and   not   to   engraft   an   artificial
divergence   productive   of   anomaly.   If   the
expression   “record”   is   read   to   mean,   in   its
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semantic   sweep,   any   material   even   later
brought   on   record,   with   the   leave   of   the
court, it will embrace subsequent events, new
light and other grounds which we find in Order
47   Rule   1,   CPC.   We   see   no   insuperable
difficulty   in   equating   the   area   in   civil   and
criminal   proceedings   when   review   power   is
invoked from the same source.”

22. The scope of review jurisdiction has been considered

by   this   Court   in   a   number   of   cases   where   well   settled

principles   have   been   reiterated   time   and   again.   It   is

sufficient to refer to judgment of this Court in Kamlesh

Verma   vs.   Mayawati   and   others   (2013)   8   SCC   320,   where

this   Court   has   elaborately   considered   the   scope   of

review. In paras 17, 18, 20.1 and 20.2 following has been

laid down:

“17.  In a review  petition,  it is not  open to
the   Court   to   reappreciate   the   evidence   and
reach a different conclusion, even if that is
possible.   Conclusion   arrived   at   on
appreciation of evidence cannot be assailed in
a   review   petition   unless   it   is   shown   that
there is an error apparent on the face of the
record   or   for   some   reason   akin   thereto.   This
Court in  Kerala SEB  v.  Hitech Electrothermics
 Hydropower Ltd.  held as under: (SCC p. 656,
para 10)

“10. … In a review petition it is not open to
this   Court   to   reappreciate   the   evidence   and
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reach a different conclusion, even if that is
possible.   The   learned   counsel   for   the   Board
at   best   sought   to   impress   us   that   the
correspondence exchanged between the parties
did   not   support   the   conclusion   reached   by
this Court. We are afraid such a submission
cannot   be   permitted   to   be   advanced   in   a
review petition. The appreciation of evidence
on record is fully within the domain of the
appellate   court.   If   on   appreciation   of   the
evidence   produced,   the   court   records   a
finding   of   fact   and   reaches   a   conclusion,
that   conclusion   cannot   be   assailed   in   a
review petition unless it is shown that there
is   an   error   apparent   on   the   face   of   the
record   or   for   some   reason   akin   thereto.   It
has not been contended before us that there
is   any   error   apparent   on   the   face   of   the
record.   To   permit   the   review   petitioner   to
argue   on   a   question   of   appreciation   of
evidence would amount to converting a review
petition into an appeal in disguise.”

18.  Review   is   not   rehearing   of   an   original
matter. The power of review cannot be confused
with appellate power which enables a superior
court   to   correct   all   errors   committed   by   a
subordinate   court.   A   repetition   of   old   and
overruled   argument   is   not   enough   to   reopen
concluded   adjudications.   This   Court   in  
Jain
Studios   Ltd.  v.  Shin   Satellite   Public   Co.
Ltd.,   held   as   under:   (SCC   pp.   504­505,   paras
11­12)

“11. So far as the grievance of the applicant
on   merits   is   concerned,   the   learned   counsel
for the opponent is right in submitting that
virtually the applicant seeks the same relief
which had been sought at the time of arguing
the main matter and had been negatived. Once
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such   a   prayer   had   been   refused,   no   review
petition   would   lie   which   would   convert
rehearing   of   the   original   matter.   It   is
settled law that the power of review cannot
be   confused   with   appellate   power   which
enables   a   superior   court   to   correct   all
errors   committed   by   a   subordinate   court.   It
is   not   rehearing   of   an   original   matter.   A
repetition   of   old   and   overruled   argument   is
not enough to reopen concluded adjudications.
The   power   of   review   can   be   exercised   with
extreme care, caution and circumspection and
only in exceptional cases.

12. When a prayer to appoint an arbitrator by
the   applicant   herein   had   been   made   at   the
time when the arbitration petition was heard
and was rejected, the same relief cannot be
sought   by   an   indirect   method   by   filing   a
review   petition.   Such   petition,   in   my
opinion, is in the nature of ‘second innings’
which   is   impermissible   and   unwarranted   and
cannot be granted.””

20.1. When the review will be maintainable:

(i) Discovery of new and important matter or
evidence   which,   after   the   exercise   of   due
diligence,   was   not   within   knowledge   of   the
petitioner or could not be produced by him;

(ii) Mistake or error apparent on the face of
the record;

(iii) Any other sufficient reason.

The   words   “any   other   sufficient   reason”   have
been   interpreted   in  Chhajju   Ram  v.  Neki  and
approved by this Court in  
Moran Mar Basselios
Catholicos v. Most Rev. Mar Poulose Athanasius
to   mean   “a   reason   sufficient   on   grounds   at
18

least   analogous   to   those   specified   in   the
rule”.   The   same   principles   have   been
reiterated   in  
Union   of   India  v.  Sandur
Manganese  Iron Ores Ltd.

20.2.  When   the   review   will   not   be
maintainable:

(i)   A   repetition   of   old   and   overruled
argument   is   not   enough   to   reopen   concluded
adjudications.

(ii)   Minor   mistakes   of   inconsequential
import.

(iii)   Review   proceedings   cannot   be   equated
with the original hearing of the case.

(iv)   Review   is   not   maintainable   unless   the
material error, manifest on the face of the
order, undermines its soundness or results in
miscarriage of justice.

(v)   A   review   is   by   no   means   an   appeal   in
disguise   whereby   an   erroneous   decision   is
reheard   and   corrected   but   lies   only   for
patent error.

(vi) The mere possibility of two views on the
subject cannot be a ground for review.

(vii) The error apparent on the face of the
record should not be an error which has to be
fished out and searched.

(viii) The appreciation of evidence on record
is fully within the domain of the appellate
court, it cannot be permitted to be advanced
in the review petition.

(ix) Review is not maintainable when the same
relief sought at the time of arguing the main
matter had been negatived.”
19

23. This very Bench speaking through one of us (Justice

Ashok   Bhushan)   had   occasion   to   consider   the   ambit   and

scope of the review Jurisdiction in a criminal proceeding

in  Vikram Singh alias Vicky Walia and another vs. State

of Punjab and another (2017) 8 SCC 518.   In para 23 of

the judgement following has been stated: 

“23.   In   view   of   the   above,   it   is   clear   that
scope,   ambit   and   parameters   of   review
jurisdiction   are   well   defined.   Normally   in   a
criminal   proceeding,   review   applications
cannot be entertained except on the ground of
error   apparent   on   the   face   of   the   record.
Further,   the   power   given   to   this   Court   under
Article   137   is   wider   and   in   an   appropriate
case   can   be   exercised   to   mitigate   a   manifest
injustice.   By   review   application   an   applicant
cannot be allowed to reargue the appeal on the
grounds   which   were   urged   at   the   time   of   the
hearing   of   the   criminal   appeal.   Even   if   the
applicant   succeeds   in   establishing   that   there
may be another view possible on the conviction
or   sentence   of   the   accused   that   is   not   a
sufficient ground for review. This Court shall
exercise its jurisdiction to review only when
a glaring omission or patent mistake has crept
in   the   earlier   decision   due   to   judicial
fallibility. There has to be an error apparent
on   the   face   of   the   record   leading   to
miscarriage of justice to exercise the review
jurisdiction under 
Article 137 read with Order
40   Rule   1.   There   has   to   be   a   material   error
manifest   on   the   face   of   the   record   with
results in the miscarriage of justice.”
20

24. We   first   take  up   the  submission  of   Shri  A.P.  Singh

regarding the abolition of death penalty in this counrty.

The   Constitution   Bench   of   this   Court   in  Bachan   Singh

(supra)  examined   the   constitutional   validity   of   death

penalty   as   provided   under   Section   302   of   IPC.   After

elaborately considering the existence of death penalty in

the Penal Code, constitutional provisions of Articles 19

and 21, and international covenant on civil and criminal

rights, this  court  held that  death  penalty  as  contained

in Penal Code is constitutionally valid. In paragraph 132

following was held:

“132. To sum up, the question whether or not
death   penalty   serves   any   penological   purpose
is a difficult, complex and intractable issue.

It has evoked strong, divergent views. For the
purpose   of   testing   the   constitutionality   of
the   impugned   provision   as   to   death   penalty
in Section   302, Penal   Code on   the   ground   of
reasonableness in the light Of Articles 19 and
21   of   the   Constitution,   it   is   not   necessary
for us to express any categorical opinion, one
way   or   the   other,   as   to   which   of   these   two
antithetical   views,   held   by   the   Abolitionists
and   Retentionists,   is   correct.   It   is
sufficient   to   say   that   the   very   fact   that
persons   of   reason,   learning   and   light   are
rationally and deeply divided in their opinion
on   this   issue,   is  a   ground   among   others,   for
rejecting   the   petitioner’s   argument   that
retention   of   death   penalty   in   the   impugned
21

provision,   is   totally   devoid   of   reason   and
purpose.   If,   notwithstanding   the   view   of   the
Abolitionists   to   the   contrary,   a   very   large
segment   of   people,   the   world   over,   including
sociologists, legislators, jurists, judges and
administrators   still   firmly   believe   in   the
worth and necessity of capital punishment for
the   protection   of   society,   if   in   the
perspective   of   prevailing   crime   conditions   in
India, contemporary public opinion channelized
through   the   people’s   representatives   in
Parliament,   has   repeatedly   in   the   last   three
decades,   rejected   all   attempts,   including   the
one made recently, to abolish or specifically
restrict   the   area   of   death   penalty,   if   death
penalty   is   still   a   recognised   legal   sanction
for murder or some types of murder in most of
the civilised countries in the world, if the!
framers of the Indian Constitution were fully
aware as we shall presently show they were of
the   existence   of   death   penalty   as   punishment
for   murder,   under the   Indian   Penal   Code,   if
the 35th Report and subsequent Reports of the
Law   Commission   suggesting   retention   of   death
penalty,   and   recommending   revision of   the
Criminal   Procedure   Code and   the   insertion   of
the   new Sections   235(2) and 354(3) in   that
Code   providing   for   pre­sentence   hearing   and
sentencing   procedure   on   conviction   for   murder
and   other   capital   offences   were   before   the
Parliament   and   presumably   considered   by   it
when   in   1972­1973   it   took   up   revision of  
the
Code of   1898   and   replaced   it   by   the 
CrPC,
1973,   it   is   not   possible   to   hold   that   the
provision   of   death   penalty   as   an   alternative
punishment   for   murder,   in Section   302, Penal
Code is   unreasonable   and   not   in   the   public
interest.   We   would,   therefore,   conclude   that
the   impugned   provision   in Section   302,
violates   neither   the   letter   or   the   ethos
of 
Article 19.”
22

25. The   submission   of   Mr.   Singh   that   death   penalty   has

been abolished by the Parliament of U.K. in the year 1966

and   several   Latin   American   countries   and   Australian

States have also abolished death penalty is no ground to

efface   the   death   penalty   from   the   statute   book   of   our

country.   So   far   the   death   penalty   remains   in   the   Penal

Code the Courts cannot be held to commit any illegality

in awarding death penalty in appropriate cases.

 

26. In view of the above, no ground to review judgment is

made out on the strength of the above submissions.

27. Now,   coming   to   the   submissions   made   by   Shri   Singh

attacking   the   investigation   and   prosecution   agencies,

suffice   it   to   say   that   submissions   and   arguments   are

general in nature and not based on any substantial ground

so as to point out any such error in the trial so as to

furnish any ground to review any judgment. 

28. The   submission   made   by   Shri   Singh   attacking   the

evidence  of PW­1  sole  eye­witness,  who  was  also injured
23

in the incident need not to be considered in these review

petitions.   All   submissions   impeaching   evidence   of   PW­1

were   made   when   the   appeals   were   heard   on   merit.     This

Court   had   considered   all   submissions   attacking   the

evidence of PW­1 in paragraphs 65­97 and 425 to 434. This

Court   after   examining   the   relevant   evidences   had   relied

on evidence of PW­1. In the review petitions, petitioners

cannot   ask   the   Court   to   re­hear   the   appeals   on   merits

which submissions had already been noted, considered and

rejected.

29. The   submission   of   Shri   Singh   that   Bus   Ex.P­1,   has

been   falsely   implicated   is   also   stated   to   be   rejected.

All these submissions were considered by this Court while

delivering the judgment in paragraphs 98­107. This   Court

has   rejected   the   submission   of   the   petitioners   that   it

was a case of plantation of Bus, the Bus was found to be

involved in the incident from the evidence on record.

30. Contention of Mr. V.K. Singh is that the bus No. DL 1

PC   0149   (Ext.   P/1)   has   been   falsely   implicated   and   the
24

CCTV Footage cannot be relied upon and this aspect is not

properly considered by this Court.   The exact points now

raised   by   Mr.   Singh   in   para   (M)   of   the   review   petition

were considered by this Court in paras (98) to (113) and

paras   (435)   to   (439).     In   para   (101),   this   Court   has

referred   to   the   evidence   of   PW­76   Gautam   Roy,   HoD,

Computer   Cell,   Forensic   Division   who   has   examined   the

CCTV Footage received by him in a Pen Drive in two sealed

parcels.  In paras (98) to (113), this Court has referred

to   the   evidence   regarding   retrieval   of   CCTV   Footage   in

the   presence   of   PW­67   Pramod   Kumar   Jha,   owner   of   the

hotel at Delhi Airport and the photographs taken thereon

to   prove   the   involvement   of   the   bus   No.   DL   1   PC   0149

(Ext. P/1).

31. To show the involvement of the bus No. DL 1 PC 0149

(Ext. P/1), in paras (108) to (113), this Court has also

elaborately   considered   the   evidence   of   PW­81,   Dinesh

Yadav,   owner   of   the   bus   and   PW­16   Rajeev   Jakhmola,

Manager   (Admn.)   of   Birla   Vidya   Niketan   School,   Pushp

Vihar who have stated that the bus No. DL 1 PC 0149 (Ext.
25

P/1) was routinely driven by Ram Singh (deceased accused)

and he was the driver of the bus.

32. Involvement of the bus No. DL 1 PC 0149 (Ext. P/1)

was   also   held   to   be   substantiated   by   matching   of   DNA

profile of the material objects lifted from the bus No.

DL 1 PC 0149 (Ext. P/1) which were found consistent with

that of the victim and the complainant.   In paras (431)

and (438),  the  same has been  well­considered.    Matching

of   DNA   profile   developed   from   the   articles   seized   from

the bus like ‘hair’ recovered from the third left row of

the bus and the blood­stained seat cover of the bus and

the   bunch   of   hair   recovered   from   the   floor   of   the   bus

with   the   DNA   profile   of   the   victim   was   held   to   be

unimpeachable   evidence   establishing   the   involvement   of

the bus in the commission of the offence.   The oral and

scientific   evidence   has   been   elaborately   considered   by

this Court in upholding the findings of the High Court as

to   the   involvement   of   the   bus.     The   petitioner/accused

cannot reagitate the same point again.
26

33. Mr.   Singh   has  inter   alia  made   various   submissions

regarding   reliability   of   the   three   dying   declarations:­

(i) failure to disclose the names of any of the accused

in   the   first   dying   declaration   (Ext.PW­49/A)   and

therefore,   the   second   and   third   dying   declarations   are

tutored;   (ii)   the   three   dying   declarations   cannot   be

relied upon due to variations and improvements; and (iii)

sudden   appearance   of   the   name   of   ‘Vipin’   (in   the   third

dying   declaration)   makes   it   doubtful   and   no   explanation

is offered.

34. The   victim   made   three   dying   declarations:­   (i)

statement recorded by PW­49 Dr. Rashmi Ahuja immediately

after   the   victim   was   admitted   to   the   hospital;     (ii)

Dying declaration (Ex.PW­27/A) recorded by PW­27 SDM Usha

Chaturvedi   on   21.12.2012;   and   (iii)   dying   declaration

(Ex.PW­30/D) recorded by PW­30 Pawan Kumar, Metropolitan

Magistrate on 25.12.2012 at 1:00 p.m. by multiple choice

questions and recording answers by gestures and writing.

In   the   first   dying   declaration   (Ex.PW­49/A),   the

prosecutrix has stated  that more  than  two  men  committed
27

rape on her, bit her on lips, cheeks and breast and also

subjected   her   to   unnatural   sex.   In   the   second   dying

declaration   (Ex.PW­27/A)   recorded   by   PW­27,   the   victim

has   narrated   the   entire   incident   in   great   detail,

specifying   the   role   of   each   accused,   rape   committed   by

number of persons, insertion of iron rod in her private

parts,   description   of   the   bus,   robbery   committed   and

throwing   of   both   the   victims   out   of   the   moving   bus   in

naked condition.  On 25.12.2012 at 1:00 p.m., PW­30 Pawan

Kumar, Metropolitan Magistrate recorded the statement by

putting   multiple   choice   questions   to   the   victim   and   by

getting   answers   through   gestures   and   writing.       While

making   the   third   declaration,   the   victim   also   tried   to

reveal   the   names   of   the   accused   by   writing   in   her   own

handwriting   viz.   “Ram   Singh,   Mukesh,   Vinay,   Akshay,

Vipin, Raju”.

35. All the contentions raised regarding the three dying

declarations   have   been   considered   in   detail   in   paras

(148) to (192) and paras (395) to (417). Considering all

the   three   dying   declarations,   in   the   light   of   well­
28

settled   principles,   this   Court   held   that   all   the   three

dying   declarations   are   true,   voluntary   and   consistent.

Insofar as third dying declaration, this Court, in paras

(408)   to   (412)   held   that   the   dying   declaration   made

through   signs,   gestures   or   by   nods   are   admissible   as

evidence   and   that   proper   care   was   taken   by   PW­30   Pawan

Kumar,   Metropolitan   Magistrate   and   the   third   dying

declaration   recorded   by   in   response   to   the   multiple­

choice   questions   by   signs,   gestures   made   by   the   victim

are   admissible   as   evidence.     In   the   third   dying

declaration,   the   victim   also   wrote   the   names   of   the

accused persons “Ram Singh, Mukesh, Vinay, Akshay, Vipin,

Raju”.    So  far  as  the  name  of  accused  Vipin written by

the prosecutrix in  the  third  dying  declaration  has  been

elaborately considered  by  this  Court  in paras  (150) and

(188) of the judgment.

36. Non­mention of use of iron rod in MLC, Ex.PW­49/A has

also been noticed by this Court in its judgment and this

Court has given reasons for not finding any fault in the

MLC,   Ex.PW­49/A.   The   submissions   of   Shri   Singh   that   on
29

21.12.2012   the   prosecutrix   was   not   fit   to   record   her

dying declaration has also been rejected. With regard to

the   morphine   injection   which   was   given   to   prosecutrix,

the   statement   of   Doctor,   the   time   of   injection   and   the

effect of morphine was categorically noted and considered

and no fault was found with the second dying declaration.

The   submission   having   been   noted,   considered   and   dealt

with   by   this   Court   in   the   judgment,   the   petitioners

cannot be allowed to reagitate the same issue again and

again. Non­mention of use of iron rod in the statement of

PW­1 has also been noted in detail by this Court. That in

second   dying   declaration   on   21.12.2012   the   prosecutrix

has   mentioned   the   use   of   iron   rod   by   which   she   was

injured   which   is   also   noted   by   the   Court.   This   Court

noted the injuries and medical evidence and has concluded

that accused had used iron rod. Those submissions having

been   raised,   dealt   with   by   this   Court   in   the   main

judgment, the petitioners cannot be allowed to raise the

same again.

37. With   regard   to   reports   regarding   DNA,   this   Court

elaborately   considered   the   whole   concept   of   DNA   and
30

reports   received.   The   attack   of   the   petitioners   on   the

ground of blood transfusion and other submissions on DNA

report having been considered and has rightly been relied

on by this Court, the submissions pertaining to DNA are

nothing   but   repitition   of   submissions   which   have   been

noted and rejected by this Court in the main judgment.

38. Contention   of   Mr.   V.K.   Singh   is   that   accused   Vinay

Sharma   raised   the   plea   of  alibi  that   he   had   attended   a

musical programme arranged by SCC Unit of the Church in

his   locality   and   he   was   there   from   08:15   pm   to

11.00/12.00   pm   on   16.12.2012   and   he   has   produced   the

video   clipping   to   prove   his   presence   there   in   the

programme   and   the   same   has   not   been   considered   by   this

Court.

39. The plea of  alibi  put forth by accused Vinay Sharma

that he was present in the musical programme organised by

the   SCC   Unit   of   the   Church   in   the   DDA   Park   in   his

locality   has   been   elaborately   considered   in   paras   (258)

to   (269).     In   para   (267)   of   the   judgment,   this   Court

referred   to   the   evidence   of   PW­83   Shri   Angad   Singh,
31

Deputy Director (Horticulture), DDA who has deposed that

no   permission   was   granted   by   any   authority   to   organise

any   function   in   the   evening   of   16.12.2012   in   the   DDA

District Park, Hauz Khas, New Delhi.  This Court has also

referred to the evidence of PW­84 Father George Manimala

of   St.   Thomas   Church   and   PW­85   Brother   R.P.   Samuel,

Secretary, Ebenezer Assembly Church who have deposed that

their   church(es)   never   organised   any   musical

programme/event   in   the   DDA   District   Park,   Hauz   Khas   in

the   evening   of   Sunday   i.e.   on   16.12.2012.     While

considering the plea of  alibi  raised by Vinay Sharma in

paras   (258)   to   (269)   referring   to   the   evidence   of   DW­5

Smt. Chamba Devi, mother of accused Vinay Sharma,   DW­7

Kishore Kumar Bhat and DW­9 Manu Sharma, this Court held

that the plea of alibi raised by accused Vinay Sharma was

not   acceptable.     Petitioner/accused   Vinay   Sharma   now

cannot reagitate the same point.

40. Plea of alibi raised by accused Vinay Sharma was also

considered in the light of the footprints lifted from the

bus   (Ext.P/1).     PW­46   A.D.   Shah,   Senior   Scientific
32

Officer   (Fingerprints),   CFSL,   CBI   examined   the   chance

prints lifted from the bus marked as “Q.1” and “Q.4” was

found  identical with  the  left  palmprint and right  thumb

impression  of  accused  Vinay Sharma.    After  referring  to

the   evidence   of   PW­46   and   the   expert   report   (Ext.   PW­

46/D),   this   Court   held   that   the   evidence   clearly

establishes the presence  of accused Vinay  Sharma  in the

bus.   There is no merit in the contention that the plea

of alibi was not considered by this Court.

41. Likewise,   video   clippings   relied   upon   by   accused

Vinay   Sharma   (Ext.DW­10/1)   was   considered   in   para   (263)

of   the   judgment   wherein   this   Court   held   that   accused

Vinay Sharma and accused Pawan Gupta were not in the DDA

District Park at 08:16 pm on 16.12.2012.

42. Now, coming to the submission regarding juvenility of

petitioner,   Vinay   Sharma.   The   issue   of   juvenile   was

considered   by   the   trial   court   and   trial   court   on   the

basis   of   the   materials   on   record   held   that   petitioner

No.1   was   not   a   juvenile.   Learned   counsel   for   the

respondent has referred to the order of the trial court
33

dated 10.01.2013 which fully supports his submission. The

trial  court on  being  fully  satisfied  that  petitioner  is

not a  juvenile  has  rightly  rejected the application for

ossification test submitted by petitioner No.1. There is

no substance in this submission and no ground is made out

to review the judgment.

43. Now, coming to the submission of the learned counsel

for petitioner No.2 that he was juvenile at the time of

occurrence.   The   said   issue   was   also   considered   by   the

trial court and rejected. The trial court on the basis of

the material placed before it had rightly concluded that

petitioner  No.2 was not a  juvenile. Learned counsel for

the respondent has rightly referred to the proceedings of

trial   court   dated   10.09.2013.   In   this   respect   this

submission also does not furnish any ground for review of

the judgment.

44. Before   closing   we   need   to   reiterate   that   criminal

appeals   filed   by   the   appellants   (petitioners   herein)

against the judgment of the High Court were heard by this

Court   giving   them   sufficient   time   for   raising   all

possible   submissions.   The   hearing   in   criminal   appeals
34

continued   about   38   days.   The   learned   counsel   for   the

appellants/petitioners   had   made   elaborate   submissions

which   were   all   duly   considered   by   us   in   our   main

judgment.   In   these   review   petitions   no   ground   has   been

made   out   which   may   furnish   any   ground   to   review   the

judgment.   We,   thus,   find   no   merit   in   these   review

petitions   and   consequently,   the   review   petitions   are

dismissed.

……………………CJI.

( DIPAK MISRA )

……………………..J.

     ( R. BANUMATHI )

……………………..J.

     ( ASHOK BHUSHAN )
NEW DELHI,
JULY 09, 2018.

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