Slamming the Delhi government for the delay in hanging the Nirbhaya rape convicts, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, on Thursday, stated that the state government's carelessness was reprehensible, while addressing a press conference. He pointed out that Tihar jail authorities had not notified the convicts of their legal options since 2017. He added that if they had notified in a timely manner, the convicts would have hanged long ago.
"The reason Nirbhaya case convicts have not been hanged yet is the Aam Aadmi Party government's carelessness. The Supreme Court had rejected their review petitions in 2017 itself. According to the process, Tihar jail authorities have to notify the prisoners about their legal options in case of the death penalty," he said.
He added, "But there was no notice given for two and a half years till October 2019. This delay is due to the compassion for convicts by the Delhi government. Now they have appealed and their (Delhi govt) said that they cannot be hanged on January 22 as time has to be given to appeal. Who gave the delay in appeal? If the notices had been issued a week after the SC rejected their review, then they would have appealed earlier and would have been hanged long ago."
Earlier on Wednesday, the Delhi government told the High Court that the four rapists will not be hanged on January 22, citing the mercy petition by Mukesh Kumar which was pending. Refusing to interfere in the delay, the Delhi High Court refused to put a stay on the death warrant of Nirbhaya's rapists stating the petition is a strategy to 'prolong the matter'. The four convicts- Vinay Sharma (26), Mukesh Kumar (32), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) are to be executed on January 22 at 7 AM in Tihar jail. Currently, the petition is being heard by a Patiala House court after the Supreme Court rejected two convicts' curative petition.
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 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.