The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the plea of juvenility raised by Pawan Kumar Gupta, one of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape-murder case.
A bench comprising Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bushan and AS Bopanna held that the same claim was earlier rejected by the Court after due consideration.
The bench held that Delhi High Court had rightly rejected the plea.
Advocate A P Singh, lawyer of Pawan Gupta, claimed that his school records show that he was a juvenile at the time of the crime. He argued that the school leaving certificate showed his date of birth as October 8, 1996.
He was held to be a major by an order of Magistrate passed in 2013. The death row convict now stated that the order was passed without hearing him. He alleged that the police had not produced the school records in the case. No opportunity was given to his counsel to examine the papers submitted by police on the plea of juvenility, Pawan states in the application.
He submitted that the school certificate came to light only after 2017, when his lawyers were collecting materials for preparing an affidavit detailing his mitigating circumstances, following the directions of the Supreme Court on February 3, 2017.
Referring to proviso Section 9(2) of the JJ Act and the SC decision in Upendra Pradhan v State of Orissa (2015), he stated that the claim of juvenility can be raised at any stage, even after the final disposal of the proceedings.
Opposing the plea, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that these contentions were earlier raised and rejected by the Court. In 2018, the SC had specifically adverted to his claim based on school certificate and rejected the claim.
"It will be a travesty of justice if this ground at this stage is raised again, after all forums have rejected it", SG said.
On December 19, the Delhi HC had dismissed the plea.
Justice Suresh Kumar Kait also imposed cost of Rs 25000 on the convict's advocate A P Singh, who did not appear in the court despite several communications sent to him on behalf of the court, for playing "hide and seek".
The execution of four convicts is scheduled on February 1.
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