The Delhi High Court, miffed at the continuous absence of the counsels representing the four December 16 gang-rape convicts, on Friday made it clear that it would appoint an amicus curiae if the lawyers were not present in court on Monday.
A division bench of Justice Reva Khetrapal and Justice Pratibha Rani raised strong objections to the repeated non-appearance of the counsels representing the convicts during the hearings for confirmation of death sentences.
“If they (the convicts) are in jail and they are not being represented here then it is a serious matter,” the court said adding: “It is a very unfortunate situation... we are extremely pained, that is what we can say.”
Observing that the lawyers had not only failed to discharge their duties towards their clients, but also had been discourteous towards the court, the bench directed all the four convicts - Pawan Gupta, Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma and Mukesh — to be produced before it on November 11 again.
Both the counsels - advocate ML Sharma, who is representing Pawan and Mukesh, and advocate AP Singh, who is fighting the case on behalf of convicts Vinay and Akshay - were told to be present in the court on the next date of hearing.
The bench was particularly miffed at Sharma, who has been a regular absentee, for leaving Delhi without informing.
“Why was the court not informed that he was going out of station? How discourteous is it to the court to go away without information?” the bench said.
Sharma, through his proxy counsel, informed the court that he had a case to attend in Mumbai before Justice DY Chandrachur and hence would be available to put forth his arguments in the death reference case from November 12 only.
Special public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan pointed out that Justice Chandrachur had already taken over as the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court.
During the hearing, the court took note that none of the family members of the convicts were present in court even as the prosecution concluded its argument.
Prosecution concludes argument
Special public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan on Friday concluded his arguments pleading before the court to set an example by giving “maximum sentence” to the four convicts.
“By giving the maximum sentence the message to the society would be that deviant behavior of extreme kind will not be tolerated,” Krishnan submitted.