The Delhi government moved a trial court on Wednesday to seek fresh death warrants for the four convicts in the 2012 gangrape case after President Ram Nath Kovind rejected the last remaining mercy petition, PTI reported. Earlier, the court had stayed warrants after issuing them thrice because the convicts kept on exercising their legal options one by one.
Earlier in the day, Kovind rejected the mercy petition of Pawan Gupta. He was scheduled to be hanged to death with fellow convicts Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Singh at Tihar Jail in Delhi on Tuesday at 6 am. A day before the execution, the court stayed their execution till further orders as Gupta had filed the mercy petition before Kovind. The other three convicts had already had their mercy pleas rejected.
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’s counsel had told a sessions court in Delhi in February that he could not avail any legal remedy so far as his earlier lawyer did not meet him during a 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.