Nirbhaya case: Delhi HC gives convicts one week to exhaust legal remedies against hanging

The Delhi High Court, on February 5, gave all four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case, one week to exhaust all legal remedies available to them against their hanging.

Upholding the trial court order staying “till further orders” the execution of all the four convicts in the case, the Delhi High Court said that after one week, the proceedings against them for execution of death warrant will be initiated.

“Convicts are taking shelter of Article 21 which provides protection to them till their last breath,” Live Law quoted Justice Suresh Kumar Kait as saying.

Justice Kait had on February 2 reserved order on the Centre’s plea after holding special hearings over the weekend.

The Centre and the Delhi government challenged the trial court’s January 31 order staying “till further orders” the execution of all the four convicts in the case — Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar (31), who are lodged in Tihar Jail.

Earlier in the day, the victim’s parents 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 on January 7, had issued black warrants for the execution of all the four convicts in Tihar jail at 7.00 am on January 22. However, they could not be hanged due to pendency of mercy petition of one of them.

Later, on January 17, the trial court fixed February 1, 6.00 am as the hanging date and time. However, 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 President Ram Nath Kovind, 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 court’s order staying the execution.

Solicitor General of India (SC) 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.

Nirbhaya, 23-year-old paramedic student, 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.Exclusive offer: Use code “BUDGET2020” and get Moneycontrol Pro’s Subscription for as little as Rs 333/- for the first year.

Updated: February 5, 2020 — 2:06 pm

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