Delhi gang rape verdict: Confirmation might take a year

New Delhi, Sep 15 (IANS) The exultation over speedy justice after a trial court here sentenced the four convicts in Dec 16, 2012 gang-rape to death may turn out to be short-lived as the journey of the case through the higher judiciary may, even if speeded up, take at least an year, jurists and legal experts say.

Even if the Delhi High Court, taking into account the public interest this case has generated, decides to expedite it when the death reference comes before it for reconfirmation, it would take about three to four months before it decides either way.

The high court, says the former Patna High Court chief justice Nagendra Rai, "has to examine the entire case de novo, go through every material on record and independently apply its mind before coming to a conclusion whether it was a fit case for confirming the death reference."

The consideration of death reference will get "primacy" over all other cases and it is a duty cast upon the high court to visit the case in its entirety, he said, adding that the court had to take into account the seriousness of the crime.

"Not many death references are pending before the high court and as and when death reference come before the court, it is decided as quickly and urgently as possible. All judges are aware of it and there are no unnecessary delays," Rupinder Singh Sodhi, a senior Supreme Court counsel who is a former judge of the Delhi High Court, told IANS.

Sodhi, who had awarded the death sentence to Santosh Kumar Singh who was convicted for the rape and murder of his Delhi Law Faculty junior Priyadarshini Matoo, said that in case the Delhi High Court confirms the death reference, the four convicts will have 90 days' time to appeal to the apex court.

(The trial court had sentenced Santosh Kumar Singh to life imprisonment, Sodhi had enhanced this to death and the Supreme Court had commuted this to life.)

The apex court, in turn, may take two to three months to decide on the appeal, Sodhi said, adding it be would nearly a year before the case completes its scrutiny by the higher judiciary and attains finality.

While hearing the matter, "nobody wants to be unfair to them and rush through the proceedings without giving them ample an opportunity (to present their point of view)," and the mandate of law has to be respected, he maintained.

Jaspal Singh, another senior apex court counsel and former Delhi High Court judge, told IANS: "My reading is that the high court will take it out of turn. So will the Supreme Court, keeping in view the public opinion... otherwise it takes years."

Notwithstanding public opinion, Jaspal Singh, outlining the procedure, agreed with Rai and Sodhi, saying it "will take around one year" till the case is decided one way or the other by the two courts of appeal.

If that happens, it would be a case of the justice delivery system moving at an exceptional pace as in the Naina Sahni murder case, which came to be known as Tandoor Case, the apex court had, on Aug 13, reserved its order on the plea of Sushil Sharma, who had challenged the Delhi High Court upholding his death sentence.

Sahni was killed on Nov 2, 1995 by her husband Sushil Sharma, then a Youth Congress leader. He was convicted and sentenced to death by a trial court on Nov 7, 2003, which Delhi High Court upheld Feb 19, 2007.

In the Dec 16, 2012 case, a 23-year-old woman was brutally gang-raped in a moving bus by six people, including a juvenile. She died of her grave intestinal injuries Dec 29 at Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital, where she had been airlifted for specialised treatment.

A fast-track court pronounced its sentence on the four convicts Friday to loud cheers from the large crowds that had gathered outside.

Of the original six accused, one was a juvenile and has been sent to a remand home for three years, the maximum sentence permissible under the law. One accused was found dead in his Tihar Jail cell.

(Parmod Kumar can be contacted at saneel2010@gmail.com)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Bangalore vs Mumbai

On Now: Bangalore vs Mumbai

Bangalore hold Mumbai back to a paltry 115 after electing to field. More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

[REWIND] The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as England coach

Moores gets second stint as England coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »