The Patiala House Court will on Monday hear a plea seeking the issuance of a new death warrant against the four individuals convicted in the 2012 Delhi gang-rape and murder case (aka the Nirbhaya case). In the last hearing, the Tihar Jail authorities had said that one of the convicts, Pawan Gupta, had informed that he does not need a lawyer.

Nirbhaya’s parents and the Delhi government had moved the court on February 11 seeking fresh death warrants for the four convicts after the Supreme Court granted liberty to the authorities to approach the trial court for issuance of fresh date for the execution of these convicts.

During the last hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was asked that when the chart reveals that three mercy petitions have been dismissed and that convict Pawan Gupta has not filed the mercy petition yet, why was a fresh death warrant being sought. 

The date of execution, first fixed for January 22 in Tihar jail, was postponed for 6 AM on February 1 by a January 17 court order. The trial court later, on January 31 stayed, “till further orders” the execution of the four convicts in the case, who are lodged in Tihar Jail.

The four convicts on death row are Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, and Akshay Thakur.

The Supreme Court had on Friday dismissed Vinay’s plea against the rejection of his mercy petition by the President.

The apex court had earlier dismissed a similar plea filed by another death row convict in the case, Mukesh Kumar Singh (32).

The mercy petition by the third convict — Akshay Kumar (31) — has also been rejected, but he is yet to challenge the rejection.

The fourth convict Pawan Gupta (25) is yet to exhaust his legal remedies such as filing a curative petition — the last legal remedy available to a person and the mercy plea.

A trial court had on January 31 stayed “till further orders” execution of the four convicts on the ground that they are yet to avail of all their legal remedies.

The Delhi High Court has said that all the four convicts in the Nirbhaya case have to hanged together and not separately.

The 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who came to be known as ‘Nirbhaya’ (fearless), was gang-raped and savagely assaulted on the night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in South Delhi. She died of her injuries a fortnight later in a Singapore hospital.

Six people including the four convicts, Ram Singh and a juvenile — were named as accused.

The trial of the five adult men began in a special fast-track court in March 2013 and four were sentenced to death by the court on September 13, 2013. The trial court decision was upheld by the High Court and the Supreme Court.

Ram Singh, the prime accused, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself in Tihar jail days after the trial began. The juvenile, who was said to be the most brutal of the attackers, was put in a correctional home for three years.

The juvenile was released in 2015 and sent to an undisclosed location amid concerns over a threat to his life. He, when released, was 20 years old.

(With PTI inputs)

Courtesy : DNA

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