The Supreme Court on Monday extended its interim order putting on hold the execution of death sentence of Mukesh and Pawan Gupta - two of the four convicts in the Dec 16, 2012, Delhi gangrape case - as it sought material they were relying on to contest high court verdict upholding their conviction and death sentence.
A bench of Justice B.S.Chauhan and Justice J. Chelameswar adjourned the hearing till Monday (April 14) as it asked the counsel M.L.Sharma to place before them the postmortem report of the Singapore hospital where the victim was treated and succumbed to her injuries.
The court asked Sharma to place before it the post mortem report and other material that he was relying upon to contest the conviction of his clients Mukesh and Pawan Gupta and award of death sentence by the trial court and upholding of the same by the high court.
Till then the interim order staying the execution of death sentence will operate, the court said.
An apex court bench of Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh at a special sitting on March 15 had stayed the execution of the death sentence till March 31.
This was extended by Justice B.S.Chauhan and Justice J. Chelameswar by a week till April 7, 2014, as the court wanted to look into the trial court verdict.
Mukesh and Pawan have contended that the prosecution's story that the victim's end came because of heavy bleeding on account of serious injuries to her intestines was not confirmed by the post mortem report by the Singapore hospital.
They have contended that their trial was not free and fair, and the trial that started Jan 21, 2013, was under "public/political pressure" with "object to hang the petitioners (Mukesh and Pawan) and other accused people".
Describing the entire trial as "miscarriage of justice", the petitioners have contended that their fundamental right (under article 21 and 22 of the constitution) to have a counsel of their choice was violated as they were represented by a state-appointed advocate.
On March 13, the Delhi High Court bench of Justice Reva Khetrapal and Justice Pratibha Rani had upheld the death sentence of Mukesh and Pawan along with two other convicts.
"Society's abhorrence to atrocious crimes perpetrated upon innocent and helpless victims has resulted in the death penalty being retained on the statute book to remind such criminals that human life is very precious and one who dares to take the life of others must lose his own life," the high court had said.
Mukesh, Pawan, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur and Ram Singh along with a juvenile were accused of gang rape and assault on a 23-year-old paramedical student inside a private bus. The victim and her friend were thrown out of the bus after the crime.
The victim died of grave intestinal injuries Dec 29, 2012 at Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Hospital.
Mukesh and Pawan in their appeal submitted that they were denied a fair trial due to public and political pressure and that they were not allowed to take the service of lawyers of their choice.
"To satisfy political scenario and personal sympathy as the victim is a girl does not take away right of a fair trial which has been denied and the real accused has been left free for ever, which is evident from the records itself," the petition said.
They contended that the trial in the case was started on January 21, 2013 under public/political pressure, contrary to the legal provisions, with sole object to hang them and other accused persons.
"There are glaring evidences of miscarriage of justice on record for procuring false statement under torture by the prosecution," the petition has submitted.