Don't deny rights of Delhi gang-rape accused: SC
New Delhi: Taking note of the pace with which the Delhi High Court was "rushing through" with the hearing of death reference and appeals in the Delhi gang rape case, the Supreme Court has asked it not to proceed with the hearing of the appeal of two convicts till they are supplied with the Hindi translation of the judgment, final order and the evidence before the trial court.
Directing that two convicts Mukesh Singh and Pawan Kumar Gupta be supplied with the Hindi translation of the judgment and the final order of the trial court and the evidence tendered before it within 10 days, the apex court bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh asked: "Why is the high court rushing through the appeal even without (their) numbering. We have to follow the procedure."
In an obvious reprimand for the way the high court was going about the hearing of death reference and appeals, Chief Justice Sathasivam said: "Is it not the duty of the high court to satisfy that the appeal is in order before taking it up for hearing."
The court said this as Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra told the court that appeals by the convicts have been assigned number. They are sketchy and defective and being heard along with the death reference.
"Can state deny these basic things to the accused? They are asking the copy of the judgment, final order and evidence which are in English to be translated in Hindi," asked Chief Justice Sathasivam, adding: "Why don't you translate and give (them). They are facing death sentence."
"The high court should not show this kind of anxiety in hearing appeal. Whether high court is deciding all death sentence cases expeditiously," Chief Justice Sathasivam asked as Luthra said the plea for translated copy of judgment, final order and evidence was a dilatory tactic by the convicts.
"The accused must have the satisfaction that they were given full opportunity," Chief Justice told Luthra.
Taking note of the Oct 28 high court order that was challenged before it, the court in its order directed that both Mukesh and Pawan be supplied with the translated copy of the judgment final order and evidence within 10 days "to enable them to pursue their appeals and defend themselves".
The court gave a week's time to the two convicts to file additional grounds in their appeal.