December 16 Gangrape Convicts Move High Court Challenging Sentence in Robbery Case

Before they gangraped and brutally assaulted 23-year-old Jyoti Singh Pandey, the group had robbed a carpenter of a mobile phone and money.

Protests in the aftermath of the gangrape and fatal assault of a young woman in Delhi on December 16, 2012. Credit: Reuters.

Protests in the aftermath of the gangrape and fatal assault of a young woman in Delhi on December 16, 2012. Credit: Reuters.

New Delhi: Three of the four death row convicts in the December 16 gangrape and murder case have moved the Delhi high court challenging the ten-year jail term awarded to them by a trial court in a robbery case.

Akshay Kumar Singh, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma, who were convicted for dacoity and dishonestly receiving stolen property, have alleged that the trial court’s order was “bad in law” and “against the principle of natural justice”.

Besides the trio, the trial court on September 2 last year had also awarded ten-year imprisonment to convict Mukesh, saying they “do not deserve any leniency”.

It had also imposed a fine of Rs. 1.01 lakh each on the four convicts, who are currently lodged in Tihar jail.

In their appeal, filed through advocate A.P. Singh, the convicts have sought the setting aside of the trial court’s decision, saying the judgement did not pay “heed towards facts produced by the accused persons during the trial of the case.”

The plea stated that the prosecution had failed to prove its case and had not produced any material evidence which could point to their guilt.

“(The) trial court had passed (the) order (conviction and sentence) without applying its judicial mind and without taking into consideration the facts and documents placed by the convicts on record and has wrongly relied upon the version of the complainant,” the convicts have said in their appeal.

They have sought bail during pendency of their appeals.

Six persons, including a juvenile, had beaten up and robbed carpenter Ram Adhar before raping and brutally assaulting 23-year-old Jyoti Singh Pandey in a moving bus in south Delhi on the night of December 16, 2012. Thirteen days after the assault, she was transferred to a hospital in Singapore for emergency treatment, but succumbed to her injuries.

As per the chargesheet in the robbery case, the police had alleged that bus driver Ram Singh, his brother Mukesh, Vinay, Pawan and Akshay, along with the juvenile, had snatched the 35-year-old carpenter’s mobile phone and Rs. 1,500 after luring him into the bus.