In 2012 Delhi gang rape case, CJI opts out of hearing review plea of convict
A review petition filed by one of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case will be heard by a new bench of judges after Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde recused from the hearing on Tuesday.
Shortly after the hearing into Akshay Thakur’s review petition started, Chief Justice Bobde mentioned that he had noticed an advocate’s name in the file that had led him to wonder if he should be associated with the review petition. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta responded that the lawyer had appeared for the rape survivor and not the government.
But Chief Justice Bobde decided it was best to opt out of the hearing and announced that he would set up a fresh bench. Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan were the other members on the bench.
Advocate A P Singh, appearing for Akshay, had started his submission saying that the case in hand has suffered political and media pressure and grave injustice has been done to the convict.
Pawan Gupta, Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Singh are on death row for the gang rape and murder of the 23-year-old woman who was tortured on a bus that she and a friend boarded in south Delhi’s Munirka. A fifth adult suspect in the case, Ram Singh, purportedly committed suicide in prison before the trial ended and a sixth was a minor at the time of the crime.
Akshay Thakur, the only one of the four convicts who hadn’t filed a review petition earlier, filed the plea against the backdrop of reports that Tihar jail officers are making preparations for the hanging of the four men.
The arrangements for the execution of the four convicts have begun at Tihar jail in Delhi, with special ropes being brought from a jail in Bihar’s Buxar. The authorities have also written to other states for services of hangmen and have begun inspection of the courtyard and other equipment.