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Dec 16 rape: HC rejects convicts’ Hindi translation plea

Pulls up defence for ‘delaying tactics’; prosecutor says trial court had given accused translated chargesheet

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | Published: October 29, 2013 2:49:40 am

Pulling up the defence advocate for “delaying tactics”,a Delhi High Court bench on Monday rejected a plea by two men on death row in the December 16 gangrape case seeking Hindi translation of case documents.

“It seems the application is only a methodology adopted to protract the hearing of the appeal,” commented the bench of Justice Reva Khetrapal and Justice Pratibha Rani,after advocate M L Sharma,who is representing Mukesh and Pawan,insisted that it was the court’s “duty” to provide the convicts copies of the documents in Hindi.

“No efforts have been made to remove the objections raised by the registry in their appeal (provisional) although ample time was given to them,” the bench said and directed the registry to list their appeal before it on November 1. “If you go on like this,a feeling will come to the mind of the court that you want to delay the case. Do you want that feeling to come to the court’s mind?” the bench asked.

Sharma had claimed in his arguments that since the two convicts did not understand English,they should be provided Hindi translations of the trial court record as well as the translations of the orders of conviction and sentence. However,prosecutor Dayan Krishnan informed the court that the trial court had supplied the translated copy of the chargesheet to the accused in April and another similar plea of the convicts had been rejected by the single bench of the High Court.

The prosecutor referred to provisions of the Constitution,according to which the official language of the Supreme Court and the High Court is English. “The accused are not entitled to translated copy of the documents as they are already in the official language,” Krishnan said.

Sharma in his plea also informed the court that he had filed the appeals for Mukesh and Pawan,but they they had not come up for hearing as certain documents had not been attached. The two other convicts in the case,Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur,had on October 7 filed their joint appeal against the trial court’s decision.

The special fast track court of Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna had convicted the four and sentenced them to death in September this year for brutally raping and assaulting a 23-year-old woman aboard a moving bus on December 16 last year,leading to her death. According to the Code of Criminal Procedure,the death penalty must be approved and confirmed by the High Court.

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