SC rejects convict’s plea seeking review of order that turned down juvenility claim
The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the plea filed by Pawan Gupta, one of the four convicts on death row in the Delhi gang-rape and murder case.
Hours later, a Delhi court stayed the execution of all the Delhi gang rape convicts till further orders while hearing an application filed by the convicts seeking a stay on the execution. The execution was scheduled to take place on February 1.
In their petition, the lawyer appearing for the convicts pleaded before the court to adjourn the matter sine die. “These convicts are not terrorists,” said lawyer AP Singh.
He cited Rule 836 of the prison manual which says that in a case where more than one person has been handed over the death penalty, the execution cannot take place unless all the convicts have exhausted their legal options.
Earlier, Gupta had filed an appeal seeking review of the court’s order rejecting his juvenility claim. In another bid to delay the execution, Gupta had claimed that he was a juvenile at the time the crime had been committed in December 2012.
The review plea filed earlier in the day was taken up for consideration in-chamber by a bench comprising of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna.
Pawan Gupta, through his counsel A P Singh, had moved the apex court seeking review of its January 20 verdict rejecting his plea in which he had claimed to be a juvenile at the time of the offence.
Dismissing his appeal on January 20, the Supreme Court had said there was no ground to interfere with the Delhi High Court order that had rejected Gupta’s similar plea.
The apex court had said that the convict’s claim was rightly rejected by the trial court as also the high court.
It had said the matter was raised earlier in the review plea before the apex court which rejected the claim of juvenility made by Pawan Gupta and another convict Vinay Kumar Sharma and that order has attained finality.
Gupta’s counsel had earlier argued that as per his school leaving certificate, he was a minor at the time of the offence.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the Delhi Police, had said Gupta’s claim of juvenility was considered at each and every judicial forum and it will be a travesty of justice if the convict is allowed to raise the claim of juvenility repeatedly and at this point of time.
The trial court on January 17 had issued black warrants for the second time for the execution of all the four convicts in the case -- Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan (25), Vinay (26) and Akshay (31) -- in Tihar Jail at 6 am on February 1. Earlier, on January 7, the court had fixed January 22 as the date for hanging.
So far, only Mukesh has exhausted all his legal remedies including the clemency plea which was dismissed by President Ram Nath Kovind on January 17 and the appeal against the rejection was turned down by the Supreme Court on January 29.
Convict Akshay’s curative petition was dismissed by the top court on January 30. Another death row convict Vinay moved a mercy plea before the President on January 29, which is pending.
A 23-year-old paramedic student was gang-raped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012, in a moving bus in south Delhi by six people before she was thrown out on the road. One of the six accused in the case, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail in 2013.
A juvenile, who was among the six accused, was convicted by a juvenile justice board and was released from a reformation home after serving a three-year term.