Tihar jail authorities on Friday challenged before a Delhi court the maintainability of the application filed by three death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case, seeking stay of their execution on February 1.
Opposing the plea, the prison authorities told Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana that the mercy plea of only one convict in the 2012 rape and murder case is pending, and the other three convicts can be hanged as scheduled in the death warrants.
The convicts’ lawyer AP Singh, however, said rules dictate that others cannot be hanged while the mercy plea of one of them is pending. Singh also urged the court to adjourn matter “sine die” (with no appointed date for resumption).
The court had on Thursday issued notice to the jail authorities seeking their response on the plea of the death row convicts seeking stay on their executions.
Advocate Singh, representing three death row convicts — Pawan Gupta, Vinay Kumar Sharma and Akshay Kumar, urged the court to adjourn the executions “sine die” as legal remedies of some of the convicts are yet to be availed.
The trial court on January 17 issued black warrants for the second time for the execution of all the four convicts in the case, Mukesh (32), Pawan (25), Vinay (26) and Akshay (31) in Tihar jail at 6:00 am on February 1. Earlier, on January 7, the court had fixed January 22 as the hanging date.
As of now, only Mukesh has exhausted all his legal remedies, including the clemency plea which was dismissed by President Ramnath Kovind on January 17 and the appeal against the rejection was thrown out by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The victim, a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern who came to be known as “Nirbhaya” was gang-raped and savagely assaulted on the night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in South Delhi. She died of her injuries a fortnight later in a Singapore hospital.