Delhi Court Rejects Plea To Stay Convicts’ Execution, Hanging Still Unlikely Tomorrow
NEW DELHI : The Patiala House Court dismissed an application to stay the execution of Akshay Thakur, 31, Pawan Gupta, 25, and Mukesh Singh, 32, and Vinay Sharma, 26, who have staggered multiple petitions challenging their death sentence.
The four convicts are scheduled to hanged in the Tihar jail at 6 am on March 3, Tuesday. a plea seeking stay on execution of death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case.
However, it is not clear whether the execution will take place as scheduled as one of the convicts Pawan Kumar Gupta filed a mercy plea before the President of India. His lawyer AP Singh informed the court about filing of the mercy plea with court agreeing to hear the matter later in the day.
According to Singh, he filed the plea on Pawan Gupta’s behalf after getting information that the Supreme Court had dismissed his curative petition. Earlier in the day, the apex court dismissed the petition, saying no case is made out on the curative petition filed by convict Gupta.
Reacting to the court’s decision, Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi said, “I have had faith in the judicial system of the country since the beginning. Convicts will finally be hanged tomorrow. I’m happy.”
However, it is most likely that court will have stay the death warrant as the mercy plea is pending before the President. The Supreme Court in the Shatrughan Chauhan case had framed a number of “guidelines for safeguarding the interests of death row convicts”.
Pawan Gupta’s curative petition was rejected today by the Supreme Court, which marks the end of all legal options before the convicts. Pawan promptly filed a mercy petition with President Ram Nath Kovind; even if it is rejected today, the law says the convict can be hanged only after 14 days.
Among the guidelines is the stipulation that a convict cannot be executed until at least 14 days have elapsed from the time he is informed about the fact this mercy petition has been rejected. Delhi High Court has already rejected centre’s plea seeking permission to execute the convicts separately. Supreme Court will now hear the matter on March 5.
Pawan and Akshay Singh Thakur, two of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case, had on Saturday moved to court seeking stay on the execution of the death warrants, scheduled for March 3.
In his plea moved through his lawyer, Akshay had claimed that he has filed a fresh mercy petition before the President of India saying his earlier mercy petition that was dismissed by the President did not have complete facts. However, the court did not allowed that argument rejecting the plea. The court also rejected Pawan’s argument as his curative petition was pending after it was informed about Supreme Court’s order rejecting the plea.
However, the court will hear the matter again considering the mercy petition filed by Pawan. This was for the third time that the death warrants were issued by the court against them. Pawan was the only one among the four convicts who had not yet filed the mercy petition—the last remedy available to a person.
The 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who came to be known as ‘Nirbhaya’ (fearless), was gang-raped and savagely assaulted 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 Agency Inputs)