A Delhi court adjourned till Wednesday the hearing of a plea seeking death warrants against the four convicts in the 2012 gangrape case, PTI reported. The court said it will wait for the Supreme Court’s decision on the review petition filed by one of the convicts against the death penalty given to him.
The top court is scheduled to hear the review petition on Tuesday.
“At least, I have to wait till the time appeal for review is pending,” Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora said, deferring the matter of the death warrants till December 18. “My view is that once the review is pending before the SC, let’s wait for the outcome.”
The prosecution had urged the court to issue death warrants nonetheless, saying: “The court can issue death warrant. Nothing prevents court from issuing death warrants.”
Six men had raped and brutally assaulted a 23-year-old student in a moving bus in Delhi on the night of December 16, 2012. The woman succumbed to her injuries two weeks later at a hospital in Singapore. The gangrape had triggered huge protests in the Capital and across the country.
One convict died in prison, while a minor convict was sent to a detention home for juveniles and was released in December 2015. The four other convicts were awarded the death penalty – first by a trial court in September 2013, which was upheld by the Delhi High Court six months later and the Supreme Court in May 2017.
Three of the four men – Vinay Sharma, Mukesh Singh and Pawan Gupta – filed review petitions against the punishment, but the Supreme Court rejected them in July 2018. The fourth convict, Akshay Kumar Singh, filed the review petition only earlier this week.
The convicts are currently lodged in Tihar Jail in Delhi. In December 2018, the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition seeking the immediate execution of the four men.
In October, Tihar jail officials informed the four convicts that they had exhausted all their options for legal recourse, and were only left with the choice to file a mercy petition before the president of India against their sentence. Their deadline was November 5. Of the four, only Vinay Sharma filed a petition. The Delhi government recommended that his mercy petition be rejected as his was among the “most heinous crimes”.