Mercy petition pending, February 1 execution of Nirbhaya rapists stayed

The matter pertains to the gangrape and murder case of a 23-year-old woman on December 16, 2012

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

A Delhi court on Friday (January 31) stayed the execution of the four convicts of the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape case after they filed an application seeking a stay on their execution, which was scheduled on February 1. The four convicts include Pawan Gupta, Vinay Kumar Sharma, Akshay Kumar and Mukesh Kumar.

The convicts’ lawyer, AP Singh, pleaded before the court to adjourn the executions sine die, saying they were not terrorists. He also said rules dictate that when one convict’s plea is pending, others cannot be hanged. Vinay’s mercy plea before President Ram Nath Kovind is pending.

Singh represents Pawan, Vinay and Akshay while lawyer Vrinda Grover represents Mukesh. Grover too argued when the plea of one of the convicts is pending, her client cannot be hanged since the execution order was common for all the four convicts. Public prosecutor Irfan Ahmad said all convicts barring Vinay can be hanged since his mercy plea is still pending.

The staying of execution was followed by emotional scenes as Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi broke down and cried outside Delhi’s Patiala House Court. She told reporters Singh, the lawyer of the convicts, had bragged to her in open that the hanging “will never happen”. She said she would continue her fight for justice and not stop until the convicts are hanged.

Timeline of Nirbhaya case

Interactive timeline graphic. Click on the arrow or year to progress.

Timeline of Nirbhaya case

Also read | Nirbhaya convict Pawan urges Supreme Court to review juvenility claim order

The trial court on January 17 had issued black warrants for the second time for the execution of all the four convicts in the case in Tihar jail at 6 am on February 1. Earlier, on January 7, the court had fixed January 22 as the hanging date. The curative petitions of Vinay and Akshay were rejected by the apex court. Pawan is the only one yet not to file a curative plea.

Meanwhile, a hangman from the Meerut Prison conducted a dummy execution of the convicts at the Tihar jail premises on Friday. Pawan Jallad, a third-generation hangman will stay on the jail premises and check the strength of rope and other things related to the execution.

The matter pertains to the sensational gangrape and murder case of a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who came to be known as ‘Nirbhaya’ (the fearless one), on the night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in South Delhi. She died of her injuries a fortnight later in a Singapore hospital.

(With inputs from agencies)

Also read | Nirbhaya: Death row convicts move court seeking stay on Feb 1 executions

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