A court in Delhi on Saturday admitted a petition filed by the mother of a woman who was gang-raped in New Delhi in December 2012 to transfer the case from a vacant fast-track court to another judge, ANI reported.
Six men had raped and brutally assaulted the 23-year-old student in a moving bus in Delhi on December 16, 2012. The woman succumbed to her injuries two weeks later at a hospital in Singapore. A minor convict was released in December 2015 after serving three years in a detention home for juveniles, while one convict died in prison. The four other convicts were awarded the death penalty.
The mother said in her petition that “despite continuous follow-ups by petitioners, the state machineries kept sleeping as if they are totally unaware of further proceedings” though the Supreme Court dismissed a review petition filed by convicts in July 2018. They had requested that their punishment be reduced to life sentence.
“Fast track court of Additional Sessions Judge PK Jain has been vacant and she has waited for a successor judge to occupy the chair… convicts have not preferred any remedy available in law and the sessions court is authorised to issue appropriate warrants so that the sentence awarded to the convicts may be carried out as early as possible, so that the society shall get the appropriate message,” her application said, according to The Indian Express.
“Two months have passed [since the previous judge vacated the court] and no new judge has come. I want this case to move forward,” she told the newspaper. The court of District and Sessions Judge Yashwant Kumar has sought a response from Tihar jail authorities by November 19. The matter will next be heard on November 25.
Last month, Tihar jail officials had informed the four convicts on death that they had exhausted all their options for legal recourse, and were only left with the choice to file a mercy petition before the president of India against their sentence. The notice, issued by the Superintendent of Tihar Central Jail, was sent to the four convicts – Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, and Akshay Kumar Singh. They were given time till November 5.
A trial court had ordered death sentences for the convicts in September 2013, which was upheld by the Delhi High Court six months later. On May 5, 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the verdicts of the Delhi High Court and the trial court.
In July last year, the court had dismissed a review petition filed by convicts Mukesh, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma who had requested that their punishment be reduced to life sentence. The fourth death-row convict, Akshay Kumar Singh, had not filed a review petition. In December 2018, the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition seeking the immediate execution of the four men.
The crime had triggered country-wide protests and demands for better safety of women. The outrage forced the government to introduce new anti-rape laws.