New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a plea by death row convict Pawan Kumar Gupta who claimed that he was a minor when the gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedical student inside a moving bus occurred on December 16, 2012.
A bench of Justice R. Banumathi, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice A.S. Bopanna said that a plea which has been earlier given up (by Pawan) could not be resurrected.
It was referring to the order of the trial court, the Delhi High Court and the top court during the hearing of Pawan’s plea seeking the reconsideration of May 5, 2017.
Noting that this was not the first time that Pawan Gupta has raised the plea of juvenility, the Supreme Court referred to the earlier orders passed by different courts and said said, “In our view, the learned single judge of the Delhi High Court rightly dismissed the revision petition. We do not find any ground warranting interference with the impugned order.”
The court referred to the orders passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate on January 10, 2013, March 13, 2014, judgment of the High Court and the July 9, 2018 order passed by the Supreme Court, rejecting the plea of Pawan being juvenile at the time when the horrific offence was committed.
Pawan had moved the top court against Delhi High Court verdict rejecting his plea that he was juvenile at the time the crime was committed.
Pawan Gupta had raised the issue of his being juvenile when the paramedical student was gang-raped by the four, including Mukesh, Akshay Kumar Singh and Vinay Sharma.
Appearing for Pawan Gupta, advocate A.P. Singh told the court that based on the school record Pawan was born on October 8, 1996, and was juvenile on the day the crime was committed.
Pawan had studied at Gyatri Bal Sansakar Shala in Uttar Pradesh and the school record including admission register and the certificate issued by the school show that his date of birth is October 8, 1995, Singh told the court that same was verified by Delhi Police including by the deputy commissioner of police.
He referred to three earlier judgments of the top court to back his argument that proof of an accused being a juvenile at the time of an offence was committed could be produced at any stage or point of time even after the pronouncement of verdict including plea for its reconsideration.
Appearing for Delhi police, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta while not disputing that the issue that an accused in a crime was a juvenile when an offence was committed could be raised at any time but not “repeatedly”.
He took the court through the record of the case contending that the issue Pawan was raising now has been agitated on past occasions.
The Solicitor General said that it would be travesty of justice if Pawan was allowed to raise this issue at this stage of the case.