Delhi gangrape case: SC rejects convict’s plea claiming he was juvenile in 2012

Pawan Gupta is one of the death row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape case. (File)

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the petition of Pawan Gupta, one of the death row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape case, who claimed that he was a juvenile at the time of the offence.

While upholding the Delhi High Court verdict, an SC bench of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bushan and AS Bopanna said there was no ground to interfere with the HC order that rejected Pawan's plea and his claim was rightly rejected by the trial court too.

Gupta moved the top court on Friday challenging the HC's order dismissing his claim of being a juvenile in December 2012.

Advocate AP Singh, appearing for Gupta, told the bench that the convict was minor at the time of the commission of the offence in December 2012 and the high court had wrongly dismissed the plea. The counsel also produced Gupta's school records which purportedly showed that he was a minor in 2012.

The bench said the claim of being a juvenile was not taken initially during the trial in the case. However, Gupta's lawyer contended that it was taken as a 'mitigating circumstance' at the time of sentencing in the case.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Delhi police, said that his 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.

Mehta said the convict was 19 years old at the time of the offence and there was a certified copy of his birth certificate as well as school leaving certificate that was taken on record by each and every judicial forum.

The four convicts — Mukesh (31), Pawan Gupta (24), Vinay Sharma (25) and Akshay Kumar Singh (33) — are scheduled to be hanged on February 1. They were convicted and sentenced to death in September 2013. This was upheld by the High Court in March 2014 and by the Supreme Court in May 2017.

The execution was earlier slated to take place on January 22, but was delayed after one of the convicts filed a mercy plea before President Ram Nath Kovind.