On Thursday the Supreme Court agreed to examine the plea of a death row convict, whose conviction has been upheld by it for raping a four-year old girl and stoning her to death in Maharashtra in 2008, that he was not accorded a fair chance to put forth his arguments by the trial court which sentenced him to death.
“We will grant you an opportunity of hearing but that should be on practical applicability (of legal proposition).
What will happen in future, we don’t know,” a three-judge bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said while hearing the revision plea of death row convict Vasanta Sampat Dupare.
The apex court in a recent historic verdict had held that a three-judge bench would accord an open-court hearing for a period of half-an-hour to hear and decide the review pleas of the convicts facing death penalty.
However, this court-mandated rule of limited hearing was breached while hearing the plea of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, the sole death-row convict of the 1993 Bombay blasts case, as the hearing had gone on much longer than 30 minutes.
Senior advocate Anup Bhambani, appearing for Dupare, alleged that the accused was not heard at the point of sentence by the trial court which was a serious legal flaw that needed to be rectified.
He also sought some documents pertaining to the testimonies of three prosecution witnesses in the case besides few exhibits produced in the lower court.
The bench, which also comprised Justices R F Nariman and U U Lalit, asked Maharashtra government to provide requisite documents to the counsel for the convict within three weeks and asked the state counsel to be ready with his submissions on August 31, the next date of hearing.
The court, which had used strong words in its 2014 verdict while upholding the death penalty of Dupare, later stayed the execution of the 55-year-old convict.
Dupare had ravished a four-year old girl of his neighbourhood and stoned her to death in 2008.
Upholding his conviction and death penalty, the bench had said “the rape of a minor girl child is nothing but a monstrous burial of her dignity in the darkness. It is a crime against the holy body of a girl child and the soul of the society and such a crime is aggravated by the manner in which it has been committed.”