‘Hopeful’: Delhi rape victim’s mother ahead of court hearing on death warrant

The mother of 2012 Delhi gangrape victim has said that she is hopeful of a positive outcome at the hearing on her petition for fresh death warrants for the four convicts today. The Delhi court hearing the matter had adjourned the matter till 2 pm on Monday.

“Several dates (of court hearing) have come and gone but fresh death warrants haven’t been issued yet. But we go with new hope in every hearing. Their lawyers use new tactics everyday, I can’t say what will happen today but I’m hopeful,” said Asha Devi.

At the last hearing on Thursday, Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana had pointed to the rights of the convicts under Article 21 of the Constitution for posting the matter for further hearing on Monday.

“In my considered opinion, Article 21 of the Constitution protects the life and liberty of a condemned prisoner till his last breath. It is a matter of right to exhaust his legal remedies and the court cannot afford to ignore the fundamental rights of the convict,” the judge had said.

The judge also appointed an advocate to represent Pawan Gupta, one of the four death row convicts in the case, after he refused to take a lawyer offered by the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DLSA) as legal aid.

He also said that deciding this application would lead to further legal complications. A dejected mother of the gangrape victim, Asha Devi, said, “I am keeping faith in you (the judge), but when the death warrant is not passed, I will again come on the next date with the same hope and faith.”

The parents of the 2012 Delhi gangrape case victim, through their lawyer, had told the court during the hearing on Thursday that patience of the society is being tested by this case.

The parents of the victim moved the Delhi court earlier this week for issuance of fresh death warrant after the seven-day period given by the Delhi high court expired on February 12.

The families of the four convicts, meanwhile, said they are innocent and asked for “one more chance” for them. “I have no one except him. My husband died and other son Ram Singh (the prime accused in the case) committed suicide,” said the mother of Mukesh Kumar. The sister of another accused Pawan Gupta also demanded that her brother should not be hanged. “He is innocent,” she told HT.

The date of execution for the four convicts – Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar (31) – was first fixed for January 22 in Tihar jail, was later postponed for 6 am on February 1 by a January 17 court order.

The physiotherapy intern was gang-raped and savagely assaulted on the night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in South Delhi. She died of her injuries a fortnight later in a Singapore hospital.

Six people – the four convicts, Ram Singh and a juvenile – were named as accused.

The trial of the five adult men began in a special fast-track court in March 2013.

Ram Singh, the prime accused, committed suicide by hanging himself in Tihar jail days after the trial began. The juvenile, who was said to be the most brutal of the attackers, was put in a correctional home for three years.

He was released in 2015 and sent to an undisclosed location amid concerns over a threat to his life. He, when released, was 20 years old.

Mukesh, Vinay, Akshay and Pawan were sentenced to death in September 2013 by the trial court.

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