The lawyer for three of the four death-row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape case on Friday moved a Delhi court alleging that Tihar Jail authorities were delaying the procedure to file mercy and curative petitions, PTI reported.
Lawyer AP Singh filed an application before the Patiala House Court, claiming the jail authorities had yet to release the documents required to file the mercy petition for convict Vinay Sharma and the curative petitions for Akshay Kumar Singh and Pawan Gupta. The plea is likely to be taken up for hearing on Saturday.
The fourth convict, Mukesh Singh, has already had his curative plea as well as mercy plea rejected. Sharma’s curative plea was rejected by the Supreme Court along with his, and he can now file a mercy plea before President Ram Nath Kovind. The other two convicts have both options left.
The Supreme Court had on Monday dismissed Gupta’s claim that he was a juvenile at the time of the crime in 2012 and fined the lawyer Rs 25,000 for wasting its time.
The convicts had been first given the death sentence by a trial court in 2013. The punishment was upheld by the Delhi High Court six months later and by the Supreme Court in May 2017. However, it took until earlier this month for a court to issue death warrants – but even that had to be postponed because the convicts continued to use the legal options available.
The executions are now scheduled for 6 am on February 1.
On Wednesday, the government approached the Supreme Court, saying that the current rules were skewed in favour of convicts, as they let them “play with the law and delay execution”. The Centre also urged the Supreme Court to set a seven-day deadline for death-row convicts to file mercy pleas before the president. At present, the minimum time between the rejection of a mercy plea and a convict’s execution is 14 days.
A day later, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said the Supreme Court should focus on the rights of the victims and not just those of the accused.
Six men raped and brutally assaulted a 23-year-old physiotherapy 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 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.