HC verdict on Dec 16 case likely in Jan

'Defence counsel's tactics may delay it more'

The Delhi High Court verdict in the Dec 16 gang rape case confirming the death sentence of the four accused is likely to be delivered in January, lawyers said.

The high court has been hearing appeals of the four accused and arguments on the death sentence on a daily basis in the sensational case of the 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist who was brutally raped in 2012.

Advocate A P Singh, representing two of the accused, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur, said, “Prosecution completed their arguments. Now defence counsel are arguing.” 

“I am expecting the verdict to come in the second week of January. I will try to complete my arguments next week and thereafter the court's holidays will start. Then we have to give fact findings, Supreme Court’s judgments in related cases and conclude it,” said M L Sharma, defence counsel of two of the other accused, Mukesh and Pawan Gupta.
But Special Public Prosecutor Dayan Krishnan is not so hopeful. “The high court decided to hear the case on a day to day basis. Prosecution has completed its arguments in the case. But looking into the conduct of defence counsel, I can’t say now how much time it will take for the judgment,” Krishnan said.

He was referring to Sharma’s alleged tactics to delay the proceedings by seeking repeated adjournments, which the court had noted. Sharma had earlier also objected to the daily hearing of the case.

A division bench of Justice Reva Khetrapal and Justice Pratibha Rani started hearing the case November 1 on a daily basis, “as sword is also hanging on their (convicts’) heads”.

The Supreme Court, however, asked the high court on November 12 not to rush through with the hearing after the defence counsel moved the apex court seeking copies of judgement and other trial records in Hindi for the convicts, which the high court had rejected.

But the high court observed that Sharma was misleading and hiding facts from the apex court.

Asking whether he was miffed with the high court's decision to hear arguments on a daily basis, Sharma, has now said that daily hearing would be “good for the convicts”. “It is good in some way for the convicts. Daily hearing will help in recollection of memory of court,” he said.

A P Singh, who had also objected to the daily hearings, said: “So many rape cases have been decided by the high court and I have never seen day-to-day hearings of any such cases. So what is so special about this case? The day-to-day hearing is not fair.”

But, sharing their anguish about the delay in the verdict, the parents of the victim said, “We want the culprits to be hanged as soon as possible.”

Comments (+)