'Nirbhaya' rape-murder convicts object to amicus curae

The two convicts in the Delhi 'Nirbhaya' rape and murder case have written to Chief Justice of India T S Thakur and Justice Dipak Misra requesting them not to appoint Raju Ramachandran and Sanjay Hegde as amicus curiae.

The two convicts - Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma - say that these lawyers have participated in TV debates in which they have taken a position against them, and therefore they cannot be neutral. It is assumed that the lawyers appearing for the convicts will later file an application in this regard.

A special bench of the Supreme Court had while hearing the plea of the death convicts in the case on Monday decided to sit two hours beyond the court's working time to ensure speedy disposal of this case pending in the court for more than two years. The apex court will hear the matter next on 18 July.

The Delhi High Court and a trial court had earlier awarded death sentence to the duo. The case is pending in the apex court since March 2014 when it had stayed execution of their death sentence.

Ramachandran was also the amicus curiae in deciding the appeal of Ajmal Kasab in relation to his conviction in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks case and also appeared for 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Abdul Razak Memon.

Six persons, including the juvenile, had brutally assaulted and raped Nirbhaya in a moving bus in south Delhi on 16 December 2012, leading to unprecedented protests in the capital. The victim succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital.

Four of the accused were awarded death penalty by the trial court which was later confirmed by the Delhi High Court. Their appeals are pending before the Supreme Court. Another accused, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail in 2013.