2012 Chhawla rape-murder case: SC dismisses review petitions filed against acquittal of accused


New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) The Supreme Court has dismissed the review petitions filed by Delhi Police and father of the victim challenging the acquittal of three death row accused in the 2012 Chhawla gang-rape and murder case.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and Bela M. Trivedi, said: “After having considered the judgment and other documents on record, we do not find any error either factual or legal, apparent on the face of record requiring review of the aforestated judgment passed by this court.”

Dismissing the review petitions, which included the victim’s father petition, the top court added: “Even if an event, which has no nexus to the instant case had taken place subsequent to the pronouncement of the judgment, that would not be a ground to entertain the review petitions. In that view of the matter, the review petitions are dismissed. The IAs also stand rejected.”

In connection with an application filed by activist Yogita Bhayana, the bench said such an application at the instance of a person who was not a party to the criminal proceedings is not maintainable in a criminal appeal.

“Moreover, the court has dismissed the review petition filed by the State of Delhi by recording that there was no error apparent on the face of record requiring the review of the judgment in the appeals. The application seeking permission to file a review petition is rejected. The connected IAs also stand rejected”, said the bench.

The top court also dismissed the review pleas filed by Uttarakhand Lok Manch, an NGO based at New Delhi, and Uttarakhand Bachao Movement, an unregistered organisation.

The bench noted that Delhi government has also filed the application seeking permission to bring on record some events which have allegedly taken place qua one of the accused Vinod after pronouncement of the judgment.

On February 8, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Chief Justice Chandrachud. Mehta said an 18-year-old was raped and brutally murdered and now, one of the accused in the case has slit the throat of an auto driver, and requested the Chief Justice to set up a bench headed by the CJI for an open court hearing.

The Chief Justice said he will constitute a bench comprising himself and Justices Bhat and Trivedi, to examine the matter. The top court said it will also consider the request for an open court hearing.

The plea said: “It is important to bring forth before the court that one of the accused Vinod after being acquitted by this court of conviction and punishment granted to him for offences of kidnapping, gangrape, and murder, has after his release, has committed murder of an innocent auto driver when the deceased resisted robbery attempt by the accused.” Vinod was arrested in connection with the murder of an auto driver.

The review application further added that commission of murder after his release indicates that the accused is a hardened criminal who has abused the benevolence of this court. The application also sought to place additional documents on record in the matter.

In November last year, the apex court had acquitted three persons in the Chhawla rape and murder case.

“The prosecution has to bring home the charges levelled against them beyond reasonable doubt, which the prosecution has failed to do in the instant case, resultantly, the court is left with no alternative but to acquit the accused, though involved in a very heinous crime”, said the top court releasing the accused in November last year.


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