The Delhi High Court on Monday rejected a plea of two death row convicts in the December 16 gangrape case for Hindi translation of certain documents including the trial court’s conviction and sentence orders in the case, saying they are adopting delaying tactics.
A bench of justices Reva Khetrapal and Pratibha Rani rejected the arguments of M.L. Sharma, counsel for convicts Pawan and Mukesh, that they do not understand English as they are illiterate and they should be supplied with Hindi translated copy of the documents.
“It seems the application is only a methodology adopted to protract the hearing of the appeal.
“No efforts have been made to remove the objections raised by the Registry in their appeal (provisional) although ample time was given to them,” the bench said and directed the Registry to list their appeal before it on November 1.
“If you go on like this, a feeling will come to the mind of the court that you want to delay the case. Do you want that feeling to come to the court’s mind?” the bench said.
The bench is hearing the trial court’s reference for confirming their death sentence.
The court wanted to know from the counsel if there was any judgement which can substantiate his claim for translated version for the documents.
It recorded the arguments of convicts’ counsel that CrPC has the provision under which the accused are entitled for translated copy of the FIR, charge sheet, evidence and the trial court judgement.
“It is the court’s duty to direct the prosecution to provide them the Hindi copies of such documents,” Mr. Sharma said.
The court also recorded the arguments of Special Public Prosecutor Dayan Krishnan that the trial court had supplied the translated copy of the charge sheet to the accused persons in April this year and another similar plea of the convicts was rejected by the single bench of this very court.
The prosecutor referred to provisions of the Constitution according to which the official language of the Supreme Court and the High Court is English and the accused are not entitled for the translated copy of the documents.
Earlier, the counsel for the two convicts had informed the bench saying the provisional appeal has been filed but they are under objection by the Registry as certain documents are yet to be annexed.
Mr. Sharma had moved the application seeking Hindi version of the FIR, charge sheet, evidence, judgement and sentence order of the trial court in the case.
Two other convicts in the case, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur, had on October 7 filed their joint appeal against the trial court’s conviction and sentencing orders of September 10 and 13, respectively.
All four of them were convicted and awarded death penalty for raping the 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in south Delhi on the night of December 16 last year.
The trial court, while awarding capital punishment to the convicts, had observed the case falls in the rarest of rare category as the crime was committed against the “defenceless” girl in a “beastly” and “hair-raising” manner and referred the case to 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.
Prime accused Ram Singh (34) was found dead in his cell in Tihar Jail in March and proceedings against him were abated.
On August 31, the juvenile accused in the case was convicted and sentenced to a maximum of three years in a reformation home.