‘Not again’: Supreme Court rejects gang-rape convict’s juvenile plea
The Delhi High Court had on December 19 last year dismissed Gupta’s claim that he was a juvenile at the time of the offence in December 2012.Updated: Jan 20, 2020 18:40 IST
Pawan Kumar Gupta, one of the four men convicted in the 2012 Delhi gangrape, need not be treated as a minor, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday, dismissing a petition filed by the death row convict to stop his execution on February 1 at 6 am.
A bench led by Justice R Banumathi had taken up Pawan Gupta’s special leave petition against his hanging earlier this morning.
Gupta had contended that he was a juvenile on 16 December 2012 when a 23-year-old paramedic on her way home was gang-raped and killed by six people.
But the bench declined to re-open this aspect of the case at this stage again.
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In its verdict, the Supreme Court ruled that the accused were entitled to raise the point about their age at any point under Juvenile Justice Act. But this plea could not be brought up again and again.
The bench noted that Pawan Gupta had already contended that he was juvenile back in 2012 during proceedings in the trial court, the high court and later the Supreme Court and this point was dismissed.
During the arguments earlier, Gupta’s lawyer AP Singh had accused the police of concealing the records about his age. “Pawan’s date of birth is October 8, 1996. These records were concealed by the Delhi Police, it is a big conspiracy,” said AP Singh and produced Pawan Gupta’s school certificates to back his claim.
The bench, however, did not take the certificates at its face value, pointing out that the certificates had been issued in 2017, years after Gupta had been convicted in the case.
“The issue regarding Pawan’s age was raised before Supreme Court in the review petition and dismissed. Can you keep raising new plea on the ground that new facts have come to light?” said Justice Ashok Bhushan.
One of the six people arrested for the 2012 gang-rape and murder of the paramedic had been let off after three years in custody because he was a minor.
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 just a year of the gruesome crime.
The sixth, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide at Tihar jail a few months before the trial court delivered its guilty verdict.
The 23-year-old woman’s mother said Pawan Kumar Gupta’s appeal in the Supreme Court had been another delaying tactic by the convicts to delay hanging. “Just like they’re delaying it one after other, they must be hanged one by one so that they understand what it means to toy with the law,” she said, according to news agency ANI.