Dec 16 victim’s mother breaks down in court over legal aid to convictUpdated: Feb 13, 2020 00:03 IST
A Delhi court on Wednesday directed that legal aid be given to Pawan Gupta, one of the convicts of the 2012 December gang rape case, even as the mother of the 23-year-old paramedic student who was raped and murdered broke down during the hearing and left the court room.
Additional sessions judge Dharmendra Rana ordered that a lawyer be provided by the Delhi State Legal Services Authorities (DSLSA), while directing advocate AP Singh, former counsel for Pawan, to deposit all case documents regarding Pawan.
The state government and the victim’s parents had moved court seeking fresh death warrants against the four convicts.
Asha Devi, the mother of the paramedic student, said, “I am here for the last one-and-a-half years, waiting for them to avail of their legal remedies. However, even I am the victim’s mother, and even I have some rights. I would request you to please issue the death warrants,” she said as her husband Badrinath Singh objected to the providing fresh legal aid to Pawan.
Advocate AP Singh, who was earlier representing three convicts -- Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma, refused to represent Pawan in the hearing on Wednesday.
Pawan’s father, Hira Lal Gupta, who was also present in the court, told the judge that he would get a new counsel. To this, the court offered Hira lal legal aid but he refused saying he would not go for any government counsel and would get his own private lawyer within two days.
“I am duty-bound to give to the opportunity, I can’t make you take it,” the court said while also asking amicus curiae Vrinda Grover if she would represent Pawan. She refused to represent, stating that she is already appearing for convict Mukesh Singh.
Appearing for the state, additional public prosecutor (APP) Irfan Ahmed told the court that nothing is pending in any court of law and hence the death warrant can be issued.
Advocate Vrinda Grover, told the court that the death warrant can be issued because no plea is pending before any authority, adding that the convict is entitled to avail of his legal rights. She said that the warrants can be issued because they would not be executed in a day.
However, the court said that if tomorrow any counsel for Pawan comes after issuance of death warrant, then the entire proceedings would become redundant.
When the court was deliberating on the matter, Asha Devi left the court room expressing her displeasure. Later speaking to reporters, Devi said her only hope is the Supreme Court, which will hear on Thursday the Centre’s plea claiming that the convicts can be hanged individually.
“How long the guilty continue to take advantage of loopholes in laws,” she said.
She appealed to the Delhi government to ensure that the loopholes in the law are removed for speedy justice. “The public have once again elected AAP for five years. So remove loopholes in the law due to which the convicts continue to take the law for granted for a longer period of time. Delhi jail should bring changes in the manual so that no convict escapes the death penalty,” she added.
Later, she shouted slogans and sat on the ground outside court premises demanding early issuance of death warrants.