Nirbhaya executions stayed until further court orders - GulfToday

Nirbhaya executions stayed until further court orders


A combo photo shows the convicts: Pawan Gupta, Mukesh Singh, Akshay Singh and Vinay Sharma.

Resmi Sivaram

The mother of Nirbhaya, a paramedical student who was gang-raped and murdered way back in 2012, wept bitterly in public as the four convicts who were to be executed on Saturday morning earned another reprieve on Friday.

Convicts Pawan Gupta, Mukesh Singh, Akshay Singh and Vinay Sharma will not be hanged until further court orders, a lower court in Delhi ruled on Friday.

“The death warrant has been cancelled and no new date has been given,” said the lawyer of one of the convicts, AP Singh.

Nirbhaya’s mother broke down as she said the lawyer had challenged her in court, saying that the four will never be executed.

“The lawyer of the convicts, AP Singh has challenged me saying that the convicts will never be executed. I will continue my fight. The government will have to execute the convicts,” Asha Devi told the media after an excruciating day waiting in courts.

Exploiting a legal system that the government says is skewed, the convicts filed multiple petitions to stall their hanging.

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana heard the arguments of Tihar Jail authorities, AP Singh and Vrinda Grover-the counsel of the convicts. During the course of hearing, the jail authorities said that only one convict’s mercy plea is pending, and the others could be hanged. In his counter, the convicts’ lawyer said when one convict’s plea is pending, rules dictate that others cannot be hanged.

The application seeking a stay on the execution was moved in the court on behalf of Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta, and Vinay Sharma. Public prosecutor Irfan Ahmad said that the application moved by Vinay and Akshay is not maintainable as per Delhi Prison Rules but added that the execution of Vinay can be postponed. He also stated that “granting any relief to the convicts would be a travesty of justice” and urged that their applications be dismissed.

Advocate Seema Kushwaha, representing the victim’s side, said that the convicts herein are adopting delay tactics to thwart the speed of justice.

Earlier in the day the Supreme Court had dismissed convict Pawan Gupta’s petition claiming that he was a juvenile when the offence took place. The review plea filed earlier in the day was taken up for consideration in-chamber by a bench comprising Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna.

The four rapists had filed several petitions before the top court.

Beside curative petitions before the Supreme Court, a mercy plea has also been filed before President Ramnath Kovind. On Thursday, the court had dismissed the plea of Mukesh Singh who had challenged the rejection of his mercy petition by the President.

The executions were earlier scheduled for January 22. Later it was shifted to February 1. As per prison rules, a death row convict can only be hanged 14 days after the rejection of his mercy petition.

Hangman Pawan meanwhile conducted a mock execution at Tihar Jail on Friday.

The 23-year-old victim, a paramedical student whom the nation named Nirbhaya or the fearless, was brutally gang-raped and assaulted inside a moving bus near nationa capital’s Munirka area by six persons on the intervening night of December 16 and December 17, 2012. She was then dumped on the road in chill night. Two weeks later on December 29, she succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital.

While prime accused Ram Singh allegedly committed suicide inside Tihar Jail, one of the convicts, a minor, who was just short of 18 when the crime took place appeared before the juvenile justice court and released after three years in a reform home.

Akshay had made a fresh bid on Thursday to get the Saturday execution delayed, claiming that legal remedies of some of the convicts is yet to be exhausted. Delhi’s Patiala House Court was moved for a stay. The Supreme Court had rejected his plea earlier in the day.

In the petition, Akshay claimed that according to the Delhi Prison rules, none of the four convicts in the same crime can be hanged till the last convict has exhausted all legal options including the mercy petition. Even if the plea is rejected, he will have the option of sending a mercy petition to the President of India.

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