New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday heard a plea filed by Pawan Kumar Gupta, one of the convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape case. He claimed that he was a juvenile at the time of the offence in December 2012. First, the high court adjourned the plea and said that it would hear the matter on January 24, 2020, as his lawyer advocate AP Singh sought time to file fresh documents. Then the court recalled its adjournment order after Nirbhaya’s lawyer objected.

This comes just a day after a Supreme Court bench ruled that Akshay Kumar, another convict who had filed a review petition, can file a mercy petition. Soon after this order, another Delhi court said that death warrants against the four convicts can’t be issued immediately as there are chances that Akshay Kumar would file a mercy petition.

These unexpected developments stymied the progress of the case and soon after this Pawan Kumar Gupta approached the Delhi High Court.

Seeking to be declared a juvenile at the time of occurrence of the incident, Pawan alleged that his ossification test was not conducted by the investigating officers and claimed benefit under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.

He said in his plea that the provision of section 7A of JJ Act lays down that a claim of juvenility may be taken before any court and it shall be recognised at any stage, even after final disposal of the case.

Pawan, who was awarded death sentence and lodged in Tihar jail, sought that the concerned authority be directed to conduct his ossification test to ascertain his claim of juvenility.

Besides Pawan, the other three convicts in the case are Mukesh, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Kumar Singh.

A 23-year-old paramedic student was gang-raped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 in a moving bus in south Delhi by six persons before she was thrown out on the road. She died on December 29, 2012, at a hospital in Singapore.

A juvenile involved in the crime was convicted by a juvenile justice board and released from a reformation home after serving a three-year term.

(With PTI Inputs)