A Delhi court will hear a plea seeking issuance of death warrants against the four accused in the December 16, 2012 rape and murder case on December 18, after it was informed that one of the convicts has filed a review petition before the Supreme Court.
Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora said he will wait for the outcome of the review petition hearing in the top court, and issued fresh notices to the four convicts and their lawyers to appear before the court on December 18.
“At least I have to wait till the time, the review is pending. My view is that once the review is pending before the Supreme Court, let’s wait for the outcome,” the judge said.
The four convicts were supposed to be produced in person before the court, but due to security concerns, the proceedings were held in-camera.
At the hearing, Dr A P Singh, counsel for convicts filed a status report before the judge regarding various stages of their legal remedies.
He told the court that he has to file curative petitions for two convicts, and a review petition filed on behalf of Akshay and a case over the issue of juvenility of two convicts were pending in court.
The judge told Singh, “This petition has been pending for over a year. Why are you filing it now? You are making this an endless exercise.”
The counsel for the victim’s mother, Jitender Kumar Jha, told the court, “These are just delay tactics, my lord.”
The Special Public Prosecutor in the case, Rajiv Mohan, and the Additional Public Prosecutor, Irfan Ahmad, told the court that there was no impediment on the court from issuing the death warrant.
The amicus curiae in the case, Vrinda Grover, told the court that if warrants are issued, then it will set a time limit for the Supreme Court to decide the review petition.
After the hearing came to an end, the victim’s mother, who moved Supreme Court challenging one the convict’s review petition, said, “I will keep fighting for justice for my daughter and for the death penalty of those who snatched her from me. I want them to be hanged before December 16.”
Tihar Jail authorities had on October 29 informed the four convicts on death row that they had “exhausted” all legal remedies, “except the provision of filing of mercy petition” before the President of India.
The notice to the four convicts was signed by the Superintendent, Central Jail No. 2, Tihar Jail.
On December 16, 2012, a 23-year-old woman was gangraped and assaulted in a moving bus in South Delhi by six persons, before being thrown out on the road. She died on December 29, 2012.
In September 2013, a fast-track court held the four convicts guilty of 13 offences including gangrape, unnatural sexual assault and murder of the woman, and attempt to murder her male friend.
One of the accused hanged himself in jail, while another, a juvenile, was convicted of rape and murder and given the maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment in a reform facility.