The Supreme Court will on Friday hear Centre's appeal against Delhi High Court order, which rejected its plea to separately execute the four convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case. Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj on Thursday mentioned the matter before SC for an urgent hearing. A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana slated the matter for hearing on Friday.
The Centre had challenged Delhi HC's Wednesday order rejecting its plea for separately executing the four convicts in the case. In the SC, the Centre contended that under the Delhi Prison Rules of 2018, the pendency of legal remedies or mercy petitions of other co-convicts would have no bearing on the fate of a convict whose plea for mercy has already been rejected. The 2018 Rules does not prohibit the execution of death sentence of co-convicts, one by one, on the rejection of their respective mercy petitions, Centre has said.
The Centre has contended that deferring the execution of death sentence of all the four convicts, specifically when Mukesh's mercy plea has already been dismissed by the President, has led to a gross miscarriage of justice to the victim's family as well as the society as a whole.
The Delhi HC on Wednesday passed its order on a plea filed by the Home Ministry and Tihar Jail authorities on February 1 challenging the Patiala House Court order. The court said that the convicts in the Nirbhaya case will be allowed a week to exercise their legal remedies, following which the trial court will begin proceedings for their execution.
The HC said, "Delhi Prison Rules do not say that if mercy petition of one convict is pending, the execution of the other convicts can take place." The Judge further added, "It cannot be disputed that the convicts have frustrated the process by using delaying tactics. But it is relevant to consider if the delay in execution of death sentence is attributable to the legal resorts taken by the convicts."
"Since up to the Supreme Court their fate has been decided by a common judgment, I am of the opinion that death warrant of all convicts should be executed together and not separately," the High Court verdict added.
(With ANI inputs)