The Delhi high court on Wednesday deferred to October 1 hearing on the death penalty reference against four convicts in the December 16 gang rape and murder case and directed the police to supply to offenders the necessary set of documents.
A bench of justices Reva Khetrapal and Pratibha Rani listed the matter for Tuesday after the counsel for the four convicts submitted that they did not have the same paper books (set of documents) with which prosecution will present the case before it.
The court had on Tuesday fixed the hearing of the death penalty reference on a day-to-day basis against convicts Mukesh (26), Akshay Thakur (28), Pawan Gupta (19) and Vinay Sharma (20) from Wednesday.
The defence counsel informed the bench that they have not been provided with the set of documents either by the court's registry or by the prosecution on a court's query whether they have received the paper books to start the arguments.
Special public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan agreed to supply the complete paper books to the defence within two days.
The bench also asked the registry to furnish a translation of the 23-year-old victim's dying declaration from Hindi to English language and relevant statements of witnesses under section 161 and 164 CrPC.
"The State has got prepared the paper books (except the translation) and in order to expedite the same, they (police) will furnish it within two days.
"Registry shall accordingly furnish the translations... the handful of documents to the parties which have already been exhibited by the trial court," the bench said.
It said in case the parties need any other document, they could either inform the court or the Registry.
The bench had on Tuesday rejected the contention of the convicts' counsel who had opposed early hearing of the reference, saying that it will start from today hearing the background of the case.
One of the defence counsel had told the court that he will file an appeal within the stipulated time (30 days) given by the trial court.
The four convicts were yesterday produced before the bench in the presence of a strong police posse in the wake of production warrants issued by the high court on the trial court's reference for confirmation of the capital punishment given to them.
On September 13, while awarding capital punishment to Mukesh, Akshay, Pawan and Vinay, the trial court had referred the case to the high court for confirmation of the sentence.
The trial court has to refer each death penalty case to the high court for confirmation of the punishment.
The four were awarded death penalty in the gang rape case by the trial court which said it fell in the rarest of rare category as the crime was committed against the 23-year-old "defenceless" girl in a "beastly" and "hair-raising" manner.
"Accordingly, the convicts be hanged by neck till they are dead," the trial court had said, noting that the inhuman and ghastly acts of the convicts shocked the collective conscience of the nation and deserves exemplary punishment.
Prime accused Ram Singh (34) was found dead in a cell in Tihar Jail in March and proceedings against him were abated. On August 31, the juvenile accused was convicted and sentenced to a maximum of three years in a reformation home.
On December 16 last year, the paramedic student was gang-raped in a moving bus in south Delhi after the convicts lured her and her male friend, who was also assaulted, on board the vehicle, which was found to be plying illegally.
The victim's 28-year-old friend suffered fractures in his limbs. The girl succumbed to her injuries on December 29 in a Singapore hospital.
Image: The four convicts of the December 16 gang rape in Delhi