Amid the looming execution of the four Nirbhaya rapists, the convicts have challenged the Patiala House court's refusal to stay their execution on March 20- Friday in the Delhi High Court. A division bench headed by Justic Manmohan is scheduled to shortly hear the plea. All four convicts are scheduled to be hanged on March 20 at 5:30 AM in Tihar jail No. 3.
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. 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 Akshay who contended that he was not in Delhi at the time when the crime was committed.
The mercy petitions and curative petitions of all four convicts -Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, and Akshay Kumar and Pawan Gupta have already been dismissed by the President and Supreme Court respectively. 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, stay on execution, criminal conspiracy, moving the International Court of Justice etc.
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.