Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: The lawyers of Mukesh and Pawan Kumar Gupta, the two men who were on September 13 sentenced to death in the heinous December 16 gang-rape and murder case, withdrew from the case on Tuesday.
The two lawyers cited alleged interference in their work by the family members of the convicts as the reason for their withdrawal.
Meanwhile, the court has issued production warrant for Wednesday for the appearance of the two convicts whose lawyers have withdrawn.
Appearing for Mukesh, advocate VK Anand informed the bench of justices Reva Khetrapal and Pratibha Rani that at the instance of certain people, including advocates, the convict`s family members are interfering in his work to file the appeal in the case.
"I wanted to withdraw myself from the case as certain people are trying to interfere into my work and the court should discharge me from the work," he said, adding that he has communicated the decision to the brother of Mukesh.
Accepting his submission, the bench said, "We can`t interfere with your decision".
Meanwhile, special public prosecutor Dayan Krishnan told the bench that advocate Vivek Sharma, who represents convict Pawan, has telephonically informed about his intention to withdraw from the case.
After the submissions of the counsel, the bench said, "In these circumstances we will have to appoint amicus curiae for Mukesh and Pawan".
"Production warrants to be issued for production of Pawan Kumar Gupta and Mukesh before the court tomorrow," the bench said.
Anand volunteered to assist the court in the case as amicus.
However, the bench said, "This will be unfair if we will appoint you as amicus in the case."
The Delhi High Court was on Tuesday scheduled to decide on the death sentence awarded to four convicts by the trial court in connection with the case.
Two other convicts in the case, Vinay Sharma (20) and Akshay Thakur (28), had on Monday filed appeals in the Delhi High Court challenging their conviction and sentencing.
The duo filed a joint appeal and sought the trial court`s conviction and sentencing orders of September 10 and September 13 to be set aside.
Sharma and Thakur were held guilty of gang rape along with two others.
The appeal had claimed that Sharma was 17 years old and should have been proceeded against under the Juvenile Justice Act. Police have claimed he his age to be 20.
The trial court had on September 13 awarded the death sentence also to Mukesh, 26, and Pawan Gupta, 19.
After the death penalty, the trial judge referred the case to the Delhi High Court for confirmation of their sentence.
The gang-rape victim was a 23-year-old who was brutalised in a moving bus by six people, including a juvenile. The accused then threw her and her male companion out of the vehicle, without clothes, to die by the roadside on the cold December night.
The woman died of grave intestinal injuries on December 29 at Singapore`s Mount Elizabeth Hospital where she was airlifted for specialised treatment.
One of the six accused was found dead in a cell in Delhi`s Tihar Jail while a juvenile involved in the crime was on August 31 sent by the Juvenile Justice Board to a reform home for three years, the maximum term under the juvenile law.
(With IANS inputs)