Nirbhaya case: HC cracks whip; all convicts to be executed together

Nirbhaya convicts, gangrape, execution, death sentence, mercy plea, President Ram Nath Kovind, review petition, curative petition
The four of them were scheduled to be hanged to death on Tuesday at 6 am

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday (February 5) dismissed the Centre’s plea challenging the trial court order staying the execution of all the four convicts in 2012 Delhi gang-rape and murder case.

The court also ruled that all the four convicts cannot be executed separately.

Justice Suresh Kumar Kait directed them to file all the mercy applications they want within a week. Post one week, the proceedings against them for the execution of death warrant will be initiated, he added.

Delhi prison rules do not say that if mercy petition of one convict is pending, the execution of the other convicts can take place,” judge pointed.

Also read: Can’t be executed separately: Nirbhaya convicts tell Delhi HC

The parents of the victim had urged the court to expeditiously decide the Centre’s plea and were assured by the judge that the order would be passed at the earliest.

The trial court had on January 7 issued black warrants for the execution of all the four convicts in Tihar jail at 7 am on January 22. However, they could not be hanged due to pendency of mercy petition of one of them.

On January 17, the trial court fixed February 1, 6 am as the hanging date and time. On January 31, the trial court again stayed the execution as the counsel for three convicts — Pawan, Vinay and Akshay — urged it to adjourn the matter “sine die” saying their legal remedies were yet to be exhausted.

While the mercy pleas of Mukesh and Vinay have been rejected by the President, Pawan has not yet filed it. Akshay’s mercy plea was filed on February 1 and is pending. The Centre and Delhi government approached the high court on February 1, challenging the trial courts order staying the execution.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing them, had contended that it was a deliberate and calculated design of the convicts to “frustrate mandate of law” by getting their execution delayed and they were not entitled to any more time. The counsel for the convicts opposed the plea saying it was not maintainable and that the Centre was never a party in the case proceedings before the trial court and while the government was accusing the convict of delay, it has woken up only now.

A 23-year-old paramedic student, referred to as Nirbhaya, was raped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 inside a moving bus in south Delhi by six persons, before being thrown out on the road. She died on December 29, 2012, in Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital. One of the six accused in the case, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in the Tihar Jail.

A juvenile, who was among the accused, was convicted by a juvenile justice board and was released from a reformation home after serving a three-year term. The top court, in its 2017 verdict, had upheld the capital punishment awarded to the convicts by the Delhi High Court and the trial court.

(With inputs from agencies)

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