On Tuesday, the Patiala House Court issued the death warrant for execution of the 4 convicts in the Nirbhaya rape and murder case. They will be hanged till death on January 22 at 7 am. Until then, the convicts can exercise the remaining legal remedies. All the convicts were produced before the court via video-conferencing. Earlier, the court reserved its order after hearing the arguments from the counsels of all the parties in the case. In December, the matter was adjourned, giving time to the rapists of Nirbhaya to exercise their remaining legal remedies.
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.
Initially, the advocate for one of the accused- Mukesh stated that he could not file his vakalatnama in time because of his ill-health. Thereafter, Vrinda Grover, the amicus curiae in the case informed the court that the process for filing curative petitions for the convicts was underway. Later, the Public Prosecutor argued that no plea of any convict was pending with either the President or any court in the country.
Moreover, he contended that the issuance of death warrants did not imply that the convicts would be immediately hanged. He assured that 14 days’ time would be provided to the convicts to file review petitions. Thereafter, both the Public Prosecutor and the Amicus Curiae observed that the curative petition was not an option for the convicts. The judge also expressed his dismay at the delaying tactics of the counsel of Nirbhaya’s rapists. He noted that the legal remedies should be exercised within a time limit.
The Supreme Court bench comprising Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna dismissed the review petition of Akshay Singh, one of the convicts in the Nirbhaya rape and murder case on December 18. The bench stated that all the aspects of the case had already been dealt with by the trial court, High Court and the SC, saying there was no merit in the plea. While the convict's counsel A P Singh has demanded 3 weeks to file the mercy petition on behalf of Akshay Singh, the Solicitor general Tushar Mehta has stated that they are constitutionally entitled to 1 week time to file for mercy plea.