Two days after the Delhi high court confirmed the death penalty of four persons convicted in the December 16, 2012 gangrape in Delhi, the Supreme Court on Saturday stayed the execution of two convicts — Mukesh and Pawan Gupta — till March 31, 2014.
A special bench of justices Ranjana Prakash Desai and Shiva Kirti Singh, in an urgent hearing, stayed the execution of the death sentence and directed the apex court Registry to communicate the order to jail authorities forthwith. It also directed that the matter be placed before Chief Justice P Sathasivam so that it can be listed before an appropriate bench. "We direct the registry to communicate the order to the prison authorities forthwith," it said and directed the registry to place the matter before the Chief Justice of India within eight days for allocation to the appropriate bench.
On March 13, a bench of Delhi high court had confirmed the death sentence while hearing the reference of a trial court which had held Mukesh (27), Pawan (20), Vinay (21) and Akshay Thakur (29) guilty of raping and subsequently killing a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern on board a moving bus on December 16, 2012.
Convicts Mukesh and Pawan have challenged the high court order through their counsel ML Sharma. Their lawyer today told the bench that "the high court had ignored his submissions and evidence led by him while hearing the appeal filed by the convicts".
On the fateful day, the girl was brutally sexually assaulted by six men, including a juvenile in a moving bus in South Delhi. They threw her and her male companion out of the vehicle, stripped them of clothing and left them to die by the roadside on the cold December night. The girl died of intestinal injuries on December 29, 2012 at a hospital in Singapore.
During the trial, prime accused Ram Singh was found dead in Tihar jail. Another accused, a juvenile, was sent to a reform home for three years by the Juvenile Justice Board in August last year.