- Supreme Court said an age claim rejected earlier cannot be raised again
- "We don't find any ground to entertain this petition," the top court said
- Pawan Kumar Gupta's plea was earlier rejected by the Delhi High Court
The Supreme Court today rejected the claim of one of the four Nirbhaya case convicts that he was underage at the time of the incident, days before they are to be hanged on February 1. The court said an age claim rejected earlier, cannot be raised again.
Pawan Kumar Gupta's plea had been rejected by the Delhi High Court earlier.
"We don't find any ground to entertain this petition. Once the issue of juvenile is examined and rejected by courts it can't be raised again," the Supreme Court said.
"How many times will we hear the same things, you have raised it already many times," the court said, hearing the petition filed on Friday, the day a second date of execution was announced.
The four will hang on February 1 at 6 am. They were earlier supposed to be executed on Wednesday, but the date was put off after a convict filed a mercy plea. Nirbhaya's parents are among those who have questioned petitions filed by the convicts at the eleventh hour as a way of delaying the sentence.
"We are happy with the Supreme Court order. This is a delaying tactic by the convicts. I would request the court and government to decide once instead of all the convicts applying mercy review separately," said Asha Devi, Nirbhaya's mother.
Advocate AP Singh, appearing for Pawan Gupta, argued that his school certificate showed he was a minor at the time of the crime and no court had ever considered his documents.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Delhi Police, said the claim was considered at each and every judicial forum and it would be a "travesty of justice" if the convict was allowed to raise the claim of juvenility repeatedly.
Mr Mehta said the convict was 19 at the time and a certified copy of his birth certificate as well as school certificate was taken on record by every judicial forum.
The police also said Pawan's parents had confirmed his age and did not dispute that he was above 18 when Nirbhaya was gang-raped, tortured and killed in 2012.
One of the six men arrested for the crime was proven to be a juvenile at the time and has been released after three years at a reform home.
Another man was found hanging in his prison cell.
The young woman who came to be known as Nirbhaya was gang-raped and tortured with an iron rod on a moving bus on December 16, 2012, before being dumped on the road with severe internal injuries. She died two weeks later, leaving a shocked and angry nation demanding justice and tough action.