Four death-row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case were hanged together at 5:30 am on Friday after their last-ditch effort to stay the execution was thwarted by Delhi High court on Thursday evening.
A trial court in Delhi had on March 5 issued fresh death warrants for Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31), ordering their execution on March 20 at 5.30 am.
On Thursday evening, three of them — Akshay Kumar Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma — moved the Delhi High Court challenging the trial court order that declined to stay their execution.
However, their plea was also dismissed by the high court which came made some harsh observation against their counsel AP Singh.
A Division Bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Sanjeev Narula heard the plea of the three convicts who sought a stay on the execution on the ground of pendency of various legal applications in different courts.
In harsh remarks against their counsel AP Singh, the court said “There is no annexure, no affidavits, no memo of parties. There is nothing in this matter. Do you have permission to file this plea?”
On this, Singh replied that no photocopy machine was working due to coronavirus.
“Law favours those who take timely action. For two and a half years till March 4, 2020, what have you been doing? You are blaming us? It is already 10.45 pm, execution is at 5.30 am. Give us a substantive point,” the bench told the lawyer.
“We’re close to the time when your client will meet God. Don’t waste time. We’ll not be able to help you in the eleventh hour if you cannot raise an important point. You have only 4-5 hours. If you have a point then come to it,” the court observed,
The plea was mentioned before the registry officials who put it up before the Chief Justice of the High Court who marked it to the bench headed by Justice Manmohan.
The plea before the high court was filed after the trial court dismissed the plea of seeking to stay the death warrants. Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana dismissed the plea after he was informed by the public prosecutor that second mercy pleas of two convicts, Akshay Kumar Singh and Pawan Gupta, were not entertained and were rejected on the ground that the first one was entertained and considered on merit.
The prosecutor told the court that advocate AP Singh who was representing the convicts was giving false information regarding the second mercy plea of Pawan Gupta.
The court was told that all the convicts have exhausted their legal remedies.
This came shortly after the Supreme Court refused to entertain the plea of the fourth convict Mukesh Singh, challenging the Delhi High Court order which rejected his claim that he was not in the city when at the time of crime on December 16, 2012.
The 23-year-old psychotherapy student, dubbed by media as ‘Nirbhaya’, was gang-raped 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.
Six people, including a juvenile, were arrested for the crime. The juvenile was released after serving a three-year term at a juvenile home, one convict allegedly committed suicide in jail while four others were sentenced to death.