Hours after the Delhi High Court dismisses the Centre’s plea against the stay on the hanging of four Nirbhaya gangrape-murder convicts, the government moved the Supreme Court on Wednesday challenging the order. 

Both the Centre and the Delhi government filed an appeal against the Delhi High Court order in the apex court. The high court had rejected the trial court order staying the execution of four death-row convicts.

While the high court said all the four convicts in the Nirbhaya case have to be executed together and rejected the government’s plea, it gave the convicts one week to exhaust all legal remedies available to them. 

The high court also faulted the authorities concerned for not taking steps for issuance of death warrant after the rejection of appeals of the convicts by the Supreme Court in 2017.

The trial court had on January 31 stayed “till further orders” execution of the four convicts in the case — Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar (31), who are lodged in Tihar Jail.

A lawyer associated with the matter said the grounds taken for the challenge in the top court are almost the same as taken in the high court while filing the appeal against the trial court order, PTI reported. 

He said that since the copy of the high court verdict is awaited, the Centre and the Delhi government preferred not to wait anymore and have stated in the petition in the apex court that the convicts can be hanged separately as Mukesh has exhausted all his remedies, including the mercy plea.

Soon after the High Court order, Union Law Minister Rabi Shankar Prasad appeared on Zee News Conclave ‘DNA of India’ and said that the top court must also see the tears of Nirbhaya’s mother as it looks after the rights of the convicts. 

“Supreme Court must take notice that Nirbhaya case convicts are misusing the law to delay their hangings. Our judicial system needs to introspect in Nirbhaya case as the legal system is being abused and the Supreme Court must take notice, I am saying this as the Law Minister,” the minister told Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary on the programme. 

Earlier, Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi said she was satisfied with the high court order giving four weeks to convicts but she will be happy only on the day when they are hanged.

“I am satisfied but I will be happy only on the day when the convicts will be hanged. The court has given them a week’s time, we will wait till then. This was the government’s appeal and the government will think over it how early could they be hanged,” she said.

The four convicts were scheduled to be hanged at 6 AM on February 1 after a Delhi court issued death warrants against them in January. This was, however, stayed by a local court after the convicts said they were yet to exhaust all legal remedies available to them.

This was the second death warrant issued for the four convicts as earlier death warrant was stayed when Mukesh filed a mercy petition to the President. The court had fixed January 22 as the hanging date.

A 23-year-old psychotherapy student, dubbed by the media as ‘Nirbhaya’, was gangraped and brutalised on a moving bus on December 16, 2012, before being dumped on the road. She was airlifted to Singapore where she died on December 29, 2012.   

(With PTI inputs)

Courtesy : DNA

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