Ahead of the Patiala House Court's hearing on a plea seeking the issuance of a fresh death warrant against the convicts in the Nirbhaya, voicing hope Nirbhaya's mother Asha Devi on Monday said that the Delhi Court must issue fresh death warrants against all four convicts in the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case.
Speaking to the media, Asha Devi said, "Several dates (of court hearing) have come and gone but fresh death warrants have not been issued yet. But we go with new hope in every hearing. Their (convicts') lawyers use new tactics every day, I cannot say what will happen today but I am hopeful."
A Delhi court had on February 17 adjourned the hearing on the plea of the state and Nirbhaya's parents seeking issuance of death warrant as a petition challenging the rejection of mercy plea of convict Vinay Kumar Sharma is pending before the Supreme Court. The Patiala House Court had observed that Article 21 of the Constitution protects the life and liberty of the convicts until the last breath of life.
Earlier on February 14, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna was hearing the convicts Vinay Sharma’s appeal against the President’s rejection of his mercy petition. Sharma’s counsel had put forth the contention that the President had ignored his adverse mental condition due to the torture in the jail. On the other hand, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta denied this claim and asserted that the rapist was fit and of sound mind.
The apex court agreed with the Centre that Sharma is medically fit and psychologically stable. Moreover, it rejected the argument that relevant materials were not forwarded by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the President. This verdict implies that Vinay Sharma has exhausted all possible legal remedies to stop his execution.
Pawan, the remaining convict is yet to file the mercy plea. However, on January 31, the Patiala House Court stayed the execution of all the rapists until further orders. The Ministry of Home Affairs moved the Delhi High Court against this verdict but failed to get any relief. Subsequently, it approached the Supreme Court.
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.