The High Court was hearing the trial court's reference for confirming death penalty awarded to four convicts.

A bench of Justices Reva Khetrapal and Pratibha Rani directed Tihar Jail authorities to produce four convicts before it on Tuesday. The order came on the submission of Dayan Krishnan, who has been re-appointed as Special Public Prosecutor by the Delhi Police in the case, that this court can direct production of the convicts to know whether they are going to file an appeal against the trial court's judgement convicting and sentencing them in the case.

The prosecutor made his submission while answering a query of the bench as to how soon the court can hear the matter at length. The court also asked the High Court registry to prepare paper books for the parties in the matter.

On September 13, Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna had had awarded capital punishment to four convicts - Mukesh (26), Akshay Thakur (28), Pawan Gupta (19) and Vinay Sharma (20) – and referred the case to the High Court for confirmation of the sentence. It is mandatory for the trial court to refer a death penalty case to a High Court for confirmation of sentence within 30 days of the pronouncement of the verdict. The trial court had also granted 30 days time to the convicts to file their appeal before the high court.

The four convicts were awarded death sentence in the brutal gang-rape case by the sessions court which said it fell in the rarest of rare category as the crime was committed against a 23-year-old "defenceless" girl in a "beastly" and "hair-raising" manner.

"Accordingly, the convicts be hanged by neck till they are dead," the trial court had said after noting that the inhuman and ghastly acts of the convicts shocked the collective conscience of the nation and deserves exemplary punishment.

Prime accused Ram Singh (34) was found dead in the cell in Tihar Jail in March and proceedings against him were abated. On August 31, the juvenile accused was convicted and sentenced to a maximum of three years in a reformation home.

On the night of December 16, last year, six men had gang-raped a girl in a bus after luring her and her 28-year-old male friend, who was also assaulted, on board the vehicle, which was later found to be plying illegally on Delhi roads. The girl succumbed to her injuries on December 29, 2012 in a Singapore hospital.

(JPN/Agencies)

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