A court in Delhi has directed Tihar jail officials to file a report on a plea by two of the convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape and murder case to stay their execution date, Live Law reported. At present, the execution of the four death row convicts is scheduled for February 1 at 6 am.
Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Kumar Jain sought the report by 10 am on Friday. The plea was moved by convicts Akshay Kumar Singh and Pawan Gupta.
Lawyer AP Singh, representing the inmates, said in his plea that some legal remedies open to the convicts have still not been availed. He said that according to the Delhi Prison Rules, none of the four convicts can be hanged till the last convict has exhausted all his legal options including the use of the mercy petition, ANI reported.
The convicts’ application has cited two of the Delhi Prison Rules to seek a stay on the date of hanging. The rules mandate that a 14 day-notice must be given to the petitioners after their mercy pleas are rejected.
Advocate Irfan Ahmed, representing Tihar jail authorities, described the pleas for a stay on execution as “a complete mockery of justice”.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court dismissed the curative petition filed by convict Akshay Kumar Singh to commute his death sentence.
In his plea, Singh had said: “The hollow claim that the death penalty creates a special kind of deterrence which is not caused by life imprisonment and that life imprisonment amounts to ‘forgiving’ the criminal is backed by nothing more than a barely masked need to justify vengeance and retribution.” He added that in 17 cases involving rape and murder, the top court has commuted the death penalty.
Singh, 31, who filed the curative petition on Wednesday, used the last legal remedy available to him a month after the Supreme Court rejected his plea seeking a review of his death sentence. His petition had used bizarre arguments.
Akshay Singh, Mukesh Kumar Singh, Vinay Sharma, and Pawan Gupta were supposed to be hanged at Delhi’s Tihar Jail on February 1, for raping and brutally assaulting a paramedical student on a bus on the night of December 16, 2012. The incident had sparked countrywide protests. The student died on December 29 that year at a Singapore hospital.
On January 14, the Supreme Court had rejected the curative petitions of convicts Mukesh Singh and Vinay Sharma. Mukesh Singh then sought mercy from President Ram Nath Kovind, who rejected it. He also moved the Delhi High Court to set aside the death warrant issued by a trial court. On Wednesday evening, Sharma also filed a mercy plea with the president.
Mukesh Singh had filed a petition on January 25 under Article 32 of the Constitution for judicial review of “the manner of rejection of the mercy petition”, according to his advocate Vrinda Grover. His petition was listed on Monday before Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, who said it should be “top priority” since the execution is scheduled for February 1. “If somebody is going to be hanged then nothing can be more urgent than this,” Bobde said. However, the court rejected the plea on Wednesday.