- The scheduled execution of the convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape and murder case was deferred till further orders by a Delhi court on Friday
- The convict’s counsel, advocate AP Singh, asked the court to defer the executions ‘sine die’, that is, without an appointed date for resumption
- Earlier on Friday, a Delhi court reserved its order on the application of three death row convicts seeking a stay on their execution
The scheduled execution of the convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape and murder case was deferred till further orders by a Delhi court on Friday. Additional Sessions judge Dharmender Rana at the Patiala House court complex passed the order on a plea by one of the convicts seeking a stay on their execution scheduled for 1 February.
The convict’s counsel, advocate AP Singh, asked the court to defer the executions ‘sine die’, that is, without an appointed date for resumption. Among the convicts represented by Singh — Pawan Gupta, Vinay Kumar Sharma and Akshay Kumar Singh — Vinay’s mercy plea is pending before the president, the report said.
While passing the order, the court observed, “The sourts of this country cannot afford to adversely discriminate any convict, including death row convict, in pursuit of his legal remedies, by turning a Nelson’s eye towards him.”
Asha Devi, the mother of the victim, said that soon after the order was passed, the lawyer “challenged” her that the convicts “will never be executed”. She added, “I will continue my fight. The government will have to execute the convicts. Devi also told reporters that her “hopes are dashed” but she will continue her fight.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also said that is sad that the convicts are “escaping the death sentence” by using legal loopholes, stressing that there is an urgent need to amend the laws to ensure hanging in cases of rape within six months.
Kejriwal tweeted his reaction to the stay on the execution and said, “It saddens me that convicts in Nirbhaya case are escaping death sentence by using legal loopholes. They should be immediately hanged. We are in dire need to amend our law so that in cases of rape, hanging takes place within 6 months.
Earlier on Friday, a Delhi court reserved its order on the application of three death row convicts seeking a stay on their execution. Rana had reserved the order after completion of hearing of arguments of the Tihar jail authorities and the convicts’ lawyer.
Saying only one convict’s plea is pending and the others can be hanged, Tihar Jail authorities challenged the application of three condemned prisoners in the case seeking a stay on their execution.
The convicts’ lawyer disagreed with the jail authorities and said rules dictate that when one convict’s plea is pending the others cannot be hanged.
The fourth person sentenced to death in the case is Mukesh Kumar Singh, whose mercy plea was dismissed by President Ram Nath Kovind on 17 January. The appeal against the rejection was thrown out by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The trial court on 17 January 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 1 February. Earlier, on 7 January, the court had fixed 22 January as the hanging date.
The curative petitions of Vinay and Akshay have been rejected by the apex court. Pawan is the only one yet not to file a curative plea.
Convicts have the option of moving a mercy petition before the president only after the apex court dismisses their curative plea.
A 23-year-old physiotherapy inter was gangraped and savagely assaulted on the night of 16 December, 2012, in a moving bus in South Delhi. She died of her injuries a fortnight later in a Singapore hospital.