Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana of the Patiala House Court on Thursday dismissed the plea of the convicts in the Nirbhaya rape and murder case to stay the execution of their death warrants. All the 4 rapists are scheduled to hang on March 20 at 5.30 am as their legal remedies have been exhausted. Earlier in the day, a six-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices NV Ramana, Arun Mishra, Rohinton Nariman, R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna rejected the second curative plea filed by convict Pawan pertaining to juvenility. Meanwhile, the apex court also refused to entertain the petition of another rapist Mukesh who contended that he was not in Delhi at the time when the crime was committed.
To begin with, prosecutor Irfan Ahmad informed the court that Pawan and Akshay had moved a second mercy petition, but the President refused to entertain the same as their first mercy pleas were already complete and were given due consideration. After arriving, AP Singh- the counsel for the accused claimed that he had filed Akshay’s post-mercy judicial review before the SC. Furthermore, he cited the pendency of the divorce petition filed by Akshay’s wife in Aurangabad Family Court and Vinay’s plea against the Election Commission before Delhi HC.
The judge questioned him about the legal provision which allowed a stay on the death warrant at this juncture. The prosecutor interjected that AP Singh had made wrong submissions. He stressed that not a single legal remedy was available to the convict. Thereafter, the judge reserved his verdict.
A 23-year-old paramedic student Nirbhaya was gang-raped inside a running bus by six persons on December 16, 2012, in Delhi. The victim was severely assaulted and thrown out on the road along with her male friend and succumbed to injuries a few days later. Out of the six convicts, one reportedly committed suicide in prison, while another, a juvenile, served maximum punishment of three years in a reform home and was set free in 2015. The remaining four rapists were convicted and handed the death penalty by a trial court in 2013, confirmed by the Delhi High Court in March 2014. The Supreme Court upheld the Delhi High Court's verdict in 2017.