As the Delhi government on Wednesday moved a city court seeking fresh date for the execution of four Nirbhaya case convicts, the court has issued notice to all the convicts. Hearing will take place on Thursday at 2 pm. Appearing for the state, PP Irfan Ahmad informed the court that President, earlier in the day, rejected the mercy plea of the last of the convicts Pawan and that the Tihar authorities have already intimated him about the rejection of his mercy plea.
Advocate Ahmad also argued that the court is not required to issue a notice to the convicts before issuing a fresh date of execution, however, in view of the principles of natural justice, the court has issued a notice to the convicts. The trial court had on February 17 issued fresh date for execution of death warrants for March 3 at 6 am for the four convicts -- Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) -- in the case.
On Monday, the Patiala House Court deferred the execution of all the 4 rapists in the Nirbhaya rape and murder case until further orders. Earlier in the day, President Ram Nath Kovind rejected the mercy petition of one of the convict- Pawan Gupta. The Supreme Court had also rejected his curative plea on Monday, after which his counsel AP Singh filed the mercy petition. Notably, Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana had highlighted in the order deferring the execution of rapists that the Delhi Prison Rules mandate a buffer period of 14 days between the receipt of the communication of the rejection of the mercy petition and the day of execution.
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.
After the Patiala House Court deferred the execution of the death warrants, Nirbhaya's mother Asha Devi expressed her anguish. She alleged that the convicts were misusing the law. Furthermore, she added that the repeated postponing of the hanging showcased the failure of the system.
Asha Devi remarked, "They are misusing the law and government should look into it, how many times the court will postpone its own decision? The way the execution of the convicts is getting delayed, it is making an impact on society and people now are losing hope in the judiciary." She added, "Why is the court taking so much time to execute its own order to hang the convicts? Repeated postponing of the execution shows the failure of our system. Our entire system supports criminals."