08/04/2016 8:30 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST

Supreme Court Appoints Senior Lawyers To Defend Nirbhaya Gang Rape Accused

Pigeons fly past the dome of India's Supreme Court building in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. India's top court on Tuesday agreed to re-examine a colonial-era law that makes homosexual acts punishable by up to a decade in prison. Gay activists cheered the court decision and said they were hopeful that the verdict would ultimately go in their favor, giving them a chance to live openly. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)

Expressing dissatisfaction over the ‘quality of defence counsel’, the supreme court on Friday appointed two senior lawyers to appear for the four convicts in the Nirbhaya case in which a woman was brutally assaulted and raped by six persons in a moving bus in South Delhi.

“We are not satisfied by the quality of defence counsel,” the bench said. The case will be heard on July 18.

A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra appointed senior advocates Raju Ramachandran and Sanjay Hegde as amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter.

While Ramachandran, who had appeared for Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, would assist the court in appeals of the convicts Mukesh and Pawan, Hegde would appear for convicts Vinay and Akshay.

"We must express our concern in the matter. We feel the gravity in the whole issue. Sometimes there are many perceptions and we don't want to miss anything. We would like to be assisted by the amicus curiae in the matter.

A 23-year-old student, who was thrown out of the bus on the night of December 16, 2012 after being raped and brutally assaulted, succumbed in a Singapore hospital on December 29.

We appoint two senior counsels Raju Ramachandran and Sanjay Hegde as amicus in the case," the bench, also comprising Justice V Gopala Gowda and Kurian Joseph, said.

The matter is listed for next hearing on July 18. On April 4, the court had commenced arguments on the plea of Mukesh and Pawan.

Besides Mukesh and Pawan, the other two convicts, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Kumar Singh, had approached the apex court against the Delhi High Court's March 13, 2014 verdict, which had termed that their offence fell in the rarest of rare category and upheld the death sentence awarded to them by the trial court.

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