Refusing to set an execution date of the Nirbhaya convicts, Delhi's Patiala House Court on Friday dismissed Tihar Jail's petition seeking execution date on February 20. The court stated that the death warrant cannot be executed only on the basis of conjectures and issued no new death warrant. The prosecution had claimed that the order to exhaust all legal remedies becomes applicable on February 5 and expires on February 11. The convicts' lawyer claimed the plea was premature.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court deferred the hearing on the Centre's plea for allowing separate execution of the four Nirbhaya rape convicts. The Supreme Court Bench of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna have stated that the court will hear the plea after the Delhi High Court's one-week deadline is completed. The Delhi HC had judged that the four convicts cannot be hanged separately and granted one week to exercise whatever legal remedies are available to them - February 11.
On January 31, Patiala House Court deferred the execution of all the four convicts in the Nirbhaya rape and murder case until further orders. Currently, SC has rejected all convicts review petition while the president has rejected three convicts' mercy plea. The Supreme Court has rejected three convicts' curative petition, while one is yet to file curative petitions. Previously, the Patiala House court set an execution date on January 22 and later extended it to February 1.
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.