The new counsel representing Mukesh and Pawan -- two of the convicts in the December 16 gang-rape and murder case -- on Wednesday sought recusal of one of the two high court judges hearing the trial court’s reference for confirmation of death penalty.
Advocate ML Sharma contended that Justice Pratibha Rani should not be part of the two-judge bench as she had in April dismissed a plea by two of the four accused in the case seeking quashing of the FIR against them.
Rejecting the submission, the court, however, said the counsel was at liberty to move a petition at the chief justice’s court to transfer the case to another bench.
“There is no question of a bench partner to recuse... There is nothing personal. Unless it is taken away by the chief justice, we will not change,” the court said.
“Mr Counsel, change of counsel doesn’t mean change of the bench. If you want, you can move a petition seeking transfer of the case from this bench,” the court said.
In April, Sharma — then representing Mukesh and Akshay (another convict) — had filed a plea seeking quashing of the FIR against his client before a bench of Justice Pratibha Rani. Justice Rani had dismissed the plea, observing that there was sufficient prima-facie evidence against them for framing of charges.
Sharma told reporters later that he was contemplating to file a transfer petition before the chief justice’s bench in two days.
He also affirmed that he would file an appeal against the death sentence of the convicts within the stipulated 30 days.