A court in Delhi on Monday stayed the execution of the four convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape and murder case, ANI reported. Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Mukesh Singh and Pawan Gupta were scheduled to be hanged at Tihar Jail in Delhi on Tuesday at 6 am.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana deferred the matter after one of the convicts, Pawan Gupta, filed a mercy petition before President Ram Nath Kovind earlier in the day. His lawyer had requested the court to stop the execution citing the petition.
“Despite stiff resistance from the victim’s side, I am of the opinion that any condemned convict must not meet his creator with a grievance in his bosom that the courts of the country have not acted fairly in granting him an opportunity to exhaust his legal remedies,” the judge said, according to PTI.
The woman’s mother Asha Devi said the repeated delay in the execution of the convicts shows the ineffectiveness of India’s legal system. “This shows the failure of our system,” she added. “The whole world is watching how justice is being delayed in India. They would have to be hanged. There could not have been a worse case than Nirbhaya but still I am struggling to get justice. The courts are sitting and watching the drama.”
Devi added that she “loses hope every day” but the convicts will be hanged no matter what they do.
Earlier in the day, Rana had rapped Gupta’s lawyer for filing the curative and mercy pleas so late. “You are playing with fire, you should be cautious,” said the judge, adding, “One wrong move by anybody and you know the consequences.”
The Supreme Court rejected Gupta’s curative petition on Monday. He had sought commutation of his death penalty to life imprisonment.
The four convicts were given 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.
The death warrants were first issued for January 22, and then postponed to February 1 because of the mercy pleas filed by two of the convicts. Gupta was the only one among the four convicts who had not availed of the legal remedies. His counsel had told a sessions court in Delhi earlier this that he could not avail any legal remedy as his earlier lawyer did not meet him during the seven-day period granted by the Delhi High Court.
The four men, along with two others, 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.