A Delhi court on March 2 stayed the execution of the four Nirbhaya death row convicts who were scheduled to be hanged at 6 am on March 3 and deferred the matter for further orders.
The court said that the death sentence cannot be executed pending disposal of mercy petition of convict Pawan Kumar Gupta, news agency PTI has reported.
Earlier in the day, the court had dismissed the pleas of two of the four death row convicts who were seeking a stay on the execution of death warrants.
Additional Session Judge Dharmender Rana, while reserving judgement on one of the accused, Pawan Kumar Gupta’s fresh plea to stay the death warrant for March 3 morning, rapped the convict’s lawyer for acting so late in filing the curative and mercy pleas.
Pawan’s lawyer, A P Singh, said he has filed a mercy plea and execution ought to be stayed. The court, thereafter, asked him to come post lunch to argue his case.
In the post-lunch hearing, the court pulled up Singh saying, “You are playing with fire, you should be cautious” and added “one wrong move by anybody, and you know the consequences”.
Tihar authorities, during the hearing, said the ball is in the government’s court, after filing of the mercy petition, and the judge has no role for now.
After the order was passed, Gupta’s lawyer, A P Singh, told the court that a mercy plea has been filed by his client before the President and therefore, his execution ought to be stayed.
Earlier in the day, the apex court dismissed the petition, saying no case is made out on the curative petition filed by convict Gupta.
A Delhi court had, on February 17, set the new date of hanging for the four convicts.
Earlier, the convicts were to be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar Jail, a Delhi court had announced on January 7 while issuing their death warrants.
However, on January 17, the court had issued a fresh death warrant for the execution of the four Nirbhaya convicts, with the convicts now scheduled to be hanged at 6 am on February 1.
The court had, however, on January 31 stayed the hanging of the four death-row convicts. The trial court had postponed the execution of the death warrant till further notice.