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Delhi HC dismisses plea filed by Nirbhaya’s murder convict seeking clemency claiming he was juvenile at time of offence

Pawan Kumar Gupta's petition referred to him as an “innocent boy” who is “falsely implicated” in the case by “anti-social elements due to revengeful motive” and puts the blame on Delhi Police.

The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed plea of one of the four convicts, Pawan Kumar Gupta, who had moved to the Delhi High Court yesterday, claiming that he was juvenile at the time of the offence in December 2012 and should be treated under the Juvenile Justice Act.

Justice Suresh Kumar Kait also imposed a penalty of Rs 25K on the convict’s advocate AP 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 court also asked Bar Council of Delhi to take action against the advocate for filing a forged affidavit in the court regarding the convict’s age.

Seeking clemency for his crime from the Delhi high court, Gupta, in the plea filed by him, has asserted that his ossification test was not done at that time and he should be granted the benefit of the doubt for it. The petitioner cited the provision of section 7A of Juvenile Justice Act lays down that a claim of juvenility may be taken before any court and it shall be recognised at any stage, even after final disposal of the case.

His petition also refers to him as an “innocent boy” who is “falsely implicated” in the case by “anti-social elements due to revengeful motive” and puts the blame on Delhi Police.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Supreme Court had rejected the review petition filed by one of the death-row convicts, Akshay Kumar Singh, in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case.

Singh, in his petition to SC, had alleged that there has been undue haste for the hanging of the convicts in this case and submitted the list of death-row convicts in other cases who were yet to be hanged.

A 23-year-old paramedic student was brutally gang-raped and cruelly assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 inside a moving bus in Delhi by six people before being thrown out on the road. After battling for her life for 13 days, the victim succumbed to her injuries on 29 December 2012.

Six persons were arrested in the case and following their trial, they were sentenced to the death penalty by the trial and High Court. The apex court in its 2017 verdict had upheld the capital punishment awarded to them by the Delhi High Court and the trial court in the case.

Last year on July 9, the Supreme Court had dismissed the review pleas filed by the other three convicts, Mukesh (30), Pawan Gupta (23) and Vinay Sharma (24) in the case, saying no grounds have been made out by them for review of the 2017 verdict.

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