File photo of Delhi gangrape convict Pawan Gupta.
File photo of Delhi gangrape convict Pawan Gupta.

SC rejects 2012 Delhi gang rape convict Pawan Gupta’s plea claiming juvenility

A curative petition is the last judicial resort available to a litigant for redressal of grievances.
New Delhi | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON MAR 19, 2020 11:25 AM IST

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed the curative petition filed by Pawan Gupta, one of the four convicts in the 2012 Delhi Gang rape against a January 20 judgment of the top court which had dismissed his claim of juvenility.

A six-judge bench, headed by Justice NV Ramana, turned down Gupta’s plea as well as his request for oral hearing of the petition.

“The application for oral hearing is rejected. We have gone through the Curative Petition and the relevant documents. In our opinion, no case is made out within the parameters indicated in the decision of this Court in Rupa Ashok Hurra vs. Ashok Hurra & Another, reported in 2002 (4) SCC 388. Hence, the Curative Petition is dismissed,” the order said.

A curative petition is the last judicial resort available to a litigant for redressal of grievances. It is a remedy established by the Supreme Court through its judgment in the Rupa Asok Hurra v Ashok Hurra case and is decided by the judges in-chamber.

The apex court bench headed by justice R Banumathi, on January 20, had dismissed Gupta’s petition in which he had claimed that he was a juvenile at the time of commission of offence in December 2012. A review petition against the January 20 judgment was dismissed on January 31.

Earlier, the Delhi high court had rejected his claim on December 19 last year after which he moved the Supreme Court in appeal.

The apex court in its January 20 judgment noted that Gupta had raised the plea of juvenility earlier too during the trial and in subsequent appeals before the Delhi high court and the Supreme Court. Gupta’s claim of juvenility was rejected by the Metropolitan Magistrate in 2013, the Delhi high court in 2014 and the Supreme Court in 2018.

Despite the same, he had filed a fresh plea before the Delhi high court in 2019 raising the same ground.

The Supreme Court had, on January 20, said that though, as per the Juvenile Justice Act, a plea regarding age of accused can be raised at any stage of the case, it cannot be raised repeatedly after it was rejected once.

“…once a convict has chosen to take the plea of juvenility before the learned Magistrate, High Court and also before the Supreme Court and the said plea has been rejected up to the Supreme Court, the petitioner cannot be allowed to reagitate the plea of juvenility by filing fresh application under Section 7A of the JJ Act”, the order said.

If a person is less than 18 years, the person will be tried as a juvenile under the Juvenile Justice Act and will consequently, escape serious punishment.

One of the six people arrested for the 2012 gang rape and murder of the paramedic had tried as a juvenile and was sent to a correction home for three years before he was released.

Four accused - Pawan (25), Vinay Sharma (26), Mukesh Kumar (32) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) - were convicted and sentenced to death in a trial that was completed within a year of the horrific crime.

They are scheduled to be hanged on Friday at 5.30 AM.

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