The Supreme Court, which rejected the plea of the convicts in the Delhi gang-rape case on Monday, said they cannot attempt to re-argue their entire case in the guise of a review petition.

Justice Ashok Bhushan, who spoke for the Bench in his judgment, said the ambit and scope of a review petition was well-defined, and could only be entertained if there was judicial fallibility, miscarriage of justice and error apparent in the earlier apex court judgment, in this case the May 2017 verdict.

Now, the convicts are left with the rare remedy of filing a curative petition. In that, they have to show there was judicial bias against them. The curative would be heard by the three senior most judges of the apex court and the judges on the Bench. In this case, the CJI has led the review Bench.

The crime saw intense public debate on the safety of women and led to the amendment of the Criminal Procedure Code to make rape punishable with death penalty. In its May 2017 judgment, the court had concluded that the convicts “found an object for enjoyment in her… for their gross, sadistic and beastly pleasures… the devilish manner in which they played with her dignity and identity is inhumane.”

It had said that the case sounded “like a story from a different world where humanity has been treated with irreverence.”

Justice Banumathi, the woman judge on the Bench, had said “there is not even a hint of hesitation in my mind” in sending the men to their deaths.

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