SC rejects Nirbhaya convict's petition against Delhi HC order

SC rejects Nirbhaya convict's petition against Delhi HC order

He has also sought a direction restraining the authorities from executing the death penalty, scheduled for February 1.

Satya Prakash
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 20

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed convict Pawan Kumar Gupta’s petition against a Delhi High Court order rejecting his claim that he was juvenile at the time of committing the crime on December 16, 2012.

A three-judge Bench of Justice R Banumathi, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice AS Bopanna rejected Pawan’s plea saying his claim had repeatedly been considered by courts at various levels.

Pawan -- who is scheduled to be executed along with three other convicts on February 1 at Tihar Jail here -- can file a mercy petition before the President.

Pawan’s counsel AP Singh had claimed that there was additional material to show that he was a juvenile at the time of commission of the offence.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta pointed out that Pawan’s birth certificate was on record before the sessions court in 2013 when his claim of juvenility was rejected. Even his parents had admitted that he was a major, he submitted.

“It would be a travesty of justice if he is allowed to raise this claim at this stage after all courts have already rejected it once,” Mehta contended.

After hearing Singh and Mehta, the top court rejected Pawan’s claim.

A Delhi court had on Friday issued fresh death warrants for February 1 against the four convicts -- Vinay Sharma (26), Mukesh Kumar (32), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan (25) after President Ram Nath Kovind rejected the mercy petition of Mukesh.

The top court had on January 14 dismissed the curative petitions of Vinay and Mukesh against their conviction and death penalty. The two other convicts -- Akshay and Pawan -- have not yet filed curative petitions before the Supreme Court.

The 23-year-old paramedic student was brutally gang-raped on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012, inside a running bus in south Delhi by six men and severely assaulted before being thrown out on the road. She died on December 29, 2012, at a hospital in Singapore.

There were six accused in the case. One of them, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail while the lone juvenile accused was convicted by a juvenile justice board and later released from a reformatory after three years.

The top court in its 2017 verdict had upheld the capital punishment awarded to them by the Delhi High Court and the trial court.

Dismissing his plea, the high court had noted that Pawan had earlier raised the juvenility claim in his review petition against the death penalty awarded to him in the case before the apex court which had dismissed his plea on July 9 last year. He had claimed that as per his school certificate his date of birth was October 8, 1996.

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