December 16 gangrape case: SC clarifies on appointment of amicus curiae


The Supreme Court today clarified that the two amicus curiae appointed by it on the appeals of the four death row convicts in December 16 gangrape and murder case do not undermine the credentials of the lawyers engaged by the condemned prisoners.

A three-judge Bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra made the remarks after one of the counsel appearing for two convicts said that “erroneous aspersions” have been cast in the minds of people regarding the capability of lawyers as apex court appointed amicus curiae in the matter at the last hearing.

“We clarify that the court appoints amicus curiae even when parties have engaged their counsel. It never means that the counsel is not competent,” the Bench, also comprising justices C Nagappan and R Banumathi, said.

Advocate M.L. Sharma, appearing for two convicts, referred to a media report and said after the amicus curiae were appointed in the matter, it was reported that lawyers engaged by the convicts were “not competent“.

However, the Bench said, “we have appointed amicus curiae in the matter as we wanted to learn. We wanted to have a perception and view of the amicus curiae. Even in matters in which senior advocates have appeared, we have appointed amicus curiae.”

“We are not depriving you … from arguing your case,” the Bench said and fixed the matter for hearing on July 18.

The Bench also allowed an application filed by victim’s mother seeking to implead her as a party in the case. The apex court, on April 8, had appointed senior advocates Raju Ramachandran and Sanjay Hegde as amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter.

While Ramachandran would assist the court in appeals of convicts, Mukesh and Pawan, Hegde would assist in appeals of other two convicts, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Kumar Singh.

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