Making a bizarre, unfounded appeal for mercy to the four Nirbhaya convicts, their counsel A P Singh has asked why must the rapists be hanged amid the pandemic Coronavirus. Questioning why the system was so eager to 'hang its own citizens' - referring to the four convicts - Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Kumar, and Pawan Gupta, he asked the judicial system to commute their sentence to life sentence. The convicts are scheduled to hang on March 20.
"I don't understand if the death sentence of the Nirbhaya gang-rape case is reduced to a life sentence, what will happen? Which world war will commence? Already coronavirus has spread as an epidemic in the entire world and everyone is seeing this," he said.
Referring to the review plea filed by the convict - Akshay Singh in the apex court stating farcical and baseless arguments --including 'Satyug', Delhi AQI, the wedding of the rapist's sister, contending Nirbhaya's dying declaration, Singh said that the current pandemic was causing their lifespan to reduce. The Centre has clarified that mass gatherings have to be avoided amid the Coronavirus scare. The scheduled hanging of the convicts does not fall in the category of 'mass gatherings', dismissing any 'concerns' of them getting coronavirus.
"This appeal we had made in the Supreme Court that due to pollution in the air, water their life span is reducing - then why a death penalty? All schools, colleges, theatres, malls, parliament's Mughal gardens are closed, but preparations are made to hang them. What human rights do you talk about awarding the death penalty to our own citizens? But when it comes to you own lives, you will take precautions - do not come under media pressure," he added.
The mercy petitions of all four convicts -Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, and Akshay Kumar and Pawan Gupta have already been dismissed by the President. All convicts curative petition too have been dismissed by the Supreme Court. The Patiala House Court had ordered that the convicts be hanged on March 20 at 5:30 AM after issuing fresh death warrants which is the fourth such date after the previous three dates- January 17, January 31 and March 3 were deferred by petitions filed by the convicts. The convicts are still employing several delay tactics - petitioning for review of the rejection of mercy amid new plea, action against former advocate for the restoration of his legal remedies.
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.