Nirbhaya case: SC dismisses Plea of juvenility raised by Death Row Convict Pawan Gupta

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea by one of four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case, Pawan K Gupta, claiming that he was a juvenile at the time of the incident in 2012. The apex court said this claim had already been rejected and he cannot raise it again. The trial court has already re-scheduled 1st February as the date of execution of the 4 convicts.

A bench of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna pronounced the order after hearing advocate A P Singh, for Pawan and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the Delhi Police.

Gupta challenged the validity of the Delhi High Court’s order of December 19, that had “ex-parte rejected his plea in violation of the principle of natural justice and right to life and liberty”. The petitioner claimed the school register issued to him on December 12, 2019, showed his date of birth as October 8, 1996, which proved him minor at the time of offence on December 15, 2012.

As per Advocate Singh, there was a big conspiracy to conceal the material facts from the court. He also contended his plea for juvenility was not examined as per the procedure prescribed under the Juvenile Justice Act.

Singh also cited previous SC’s judgements including the one in Upendra Pradhan Vs State of Orissa regarding the claim of juvenility can be raised at any stage and even after dismissal of the case by the top court. Non-consideration of his plea would be a miscarriage of justice.

Solicitor General Mehta said the written statement of parents was taken into consideration while deciding his claim of juvenility by the trial court on January 10, 2013. “This very document was a subject matter in review petition before the SC.

It would be a travesty of justice if this plea is allowed to raise at this stage since every forum was used,” he said. The court, however, allowed Singh to file a separate plea against Rs 25,000 cost imposed on him by the Delhi High Court for playing hide and seek as he had failed to appear in the court despite several communications. The HC had asked Bar Council of Delhi to take action against the advocate for filling the forged affidavit regarding the convict’s age.

The President had on Friday rejected the mercy petition of one of the convicts, Mukesh. The trial court then changed the date for the execution in the case of gang rape and murder of 23-year-old paramedic student, referred to as Nirbhaya, to February 1.