Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 15 June 2021 9.22 AM IST

Delhi air killing us anyway, why give death penalty: Nirbhaya convict


One of the four men convicted in the 2012 Nirbhaya rape and murder case has asked the Supreme Court to spare him the death penalty since life in Delhi is anyway getting "short" due to air and water pollution. No, you read that right. This absurd argument finds a mention in a plea filed by Akshay Singh Thakur requesting the Supreme Court to review his conviction in the Nirbhaya rape and murder case.

Akshay Singh Thakur -- the lone convict not to have filed a review plea -- has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a review of his conviction in the Nirbhaya rape and murder case. The petition brings up points of law, argues that Akshay was incorrectly convicted and talks about capital punishment being abolished in various countries.

At one point, Akshay's review petition inexplicably brings up Delhi's air quality. "... it is important to pertain here that Air Quality of Delhi NCR and metro city is burst and like a gas chamber... the water of Delhi NCR and metro city is also full of poison... Everyone is aware of what is happening in Delhi NCR in regard water and air," the petition says before asking a simple question.

"Life is short to short, then why death penalty? [sic]"

This bizzare argument is prefaced by another peculiar paragraph in the petition. In that paragraph, the petition cities ancient Indian texts such as the Vedas, Puranas and Upanishads to say that during 'Satyug' (the first of the four ages mentioned in
Hindu mythology), people used to live for "thousand years".

Rape and murder story

Akshay Singh Thakur was convicted in the Nirbhaya rape and murder case along with Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma. All four were awarded the death penalty and the punishment was upheld by the Supreme Court. Earlier, Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma filed review petitions asking the Supreme Court to reconsider their convictions. The petitions were rejected.

The four men were convicted for the brutal 2012 gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman who came to be called 'Nirbhaya'. A fifth suspect killed himself in jail during the trial phase while the sixth person involved in the crime was tried in a juvenile court.

The 23-year-old woman -- a physiotherapy student -- was gang-raped and viciously attacked on moving bus in December 2012. She later died at a Singapore hospital due to the horrific injuries she suffered in the attack.

The Nirbhaya rape and murder case sent shockwaves through the country. Massive protests were held for days, which finally forced the government to set up a panel to re-examine India's rape laws. Suggestions made by the panel led to much tougher laws on rape.

The petition, as it questions the practice of awarding death penalty, then says that we are now in Kalyug (the last age in Hindu mythology) where the average lifespan has reduced to 50-60 years.

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