SC appoints senior advocate to represent convict Pawan

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday appointed senior advocate Anjana Prakash to represent one of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case who was unrepresented after dropping his earlier lawyer.
A bench of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna appointed Prakash as amicus curiae to represent the convict, Pawan Kumar Gupta.
“On behalf of respondent Pawan Gupta, we requested Anjana Prakash, senior counsel, to be amicus curiae to assist the court in the case of Pawan Gupta. Anjana Prakash has graciously agreed to appear and advance arguments to assist the court in the matter of Pawan Gupta,” the bench said in its order.
The top court deferred the hearing for Friday on the Centre’s plea seeking separate execution of four convicts and asked all the condemned prisoners to file their replies by then. Prakash had earlier appeared for convict Mukesh Kumar Singh, who had challenged rejection of his mercy plea by the President. The top court had dismissed his plea. The bench took note of the order of trial court passed on Wednesday in which it had asked the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) to provide Pawan’s father with a list of empanelled advocates to choose from to represent the convict. Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for convict Mukesh, said that trial court listed the matter for hearing a plea of jail authorities seeking fresh date of execution and it would be appropriate, if the matter in top court is taken up on Friday.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Centre and Delhi governemnt, said there is no change the status of the convicts since the last date of hearing on Tuesday as no one has moved any mercy or curative petition till now as directed by Delhi High Court.
The bench said that it is listing the matter for Friday at 2 PM for final hearing and all the convicts in the case shall file their replies to Centre’s plea by then. Gupta is the only convict in the case who has not filed a curative petition — the last legal remedy available to a person. He also has the option of filing a mercy plea against the death sentence. On Tuesday, convict Vinay Sharma had challenged the rejection of his mercy petition by the President in the apex court.
The same day, the top court had sought a response from the four convicts on Centre’s appeal against a Delhi High Court verdict refusing to set aside the stay on their execution.
The trial court has stayed “till further orders” the execution of the convicts — Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Gupta (25), Sharma (26) and Akshay (31). Two death warrants have been stayed so far in the case. (PTI)

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