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Court seeks status report on Dec 16 gang rape convict seeking stay on execution

By Richa Banka
PUBLISHED ON JAN 30, 2020 11:41 PM IST

A Delhi court, on Thursday, sought a status report from the Tihar jail authorities after Vinay Sharma, one of the four convicts in the December 16, 2012, gang rape case, moved the court seeking a stay on the execution, scheduled for February 1. Sharma moved court a day after he filed a mercy petition before the President on Wednesday, January 29.

Additional Sessions Judge AK Jain posted the matter for further hearing on Friday at 10am when he is likely to issue a new execution date for all the four convicts—Vinay, Pawan Gupta, Akshay Thakur and Mukesh Singh—who are on a death row for raping and murdering a 23-year-old paramedical student on a moving bus on December 16, 2012, in Munirka.

The court gave its order hearing Vinay’s application in which he has sought a stay on the February 1 execution. The application, filed through advocate AP Singh, said the mercy plea was filed on January 29 and has been submitted to the President. The application cites Rule 836 of the Delhi Prison Rules, which states that the sentence cannot be executed until the dismissal of the appeal or application. The application also cited an earlier judgment of the Supreme Court, according to which 14 days should be given to the convict to settle their affairs and prepare for the hanging.

The application further said two more convicts—Akshay and Pawan—were still pursuing legal remedies. While Akshay’s curative petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court on Thursday, Pawan was yet to file the curative petition, which is the last legal resort for a convict on the death row.

On Thursday, appearing for the state, public prosecutor Irfan Ahmed opposed the application seeking a stay on it. He called it a “mockery of justice” and submitted that the jail authorities had already served the convicts a notice in December last year asking them to file their mercy pleas before the President within seven days. However, the same was not done.

“This is a complete mockery of justice. We (Tihar jail) had asked the convicts to file their mercy petitions within seven days. However, they are filing it after the lapse of 40 days,” Ahmed told the court.

The court then asked the Tihar jail authorities to respond to the plea and fixed the matter for Friday.

The four convicts, Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay were convicted and sentenced to death by the trial court in 2013.

Their conviction and sentence were confirmed by the Delhi high court in 2014 and the Supreme Court in May 2017. Subsequently, the review petitions filed by three convicts, Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma against the Supreme Court judgment were dismissed in 2018 and the review petition by Akshay was dismissed in December 2019.

Additional Sessions Judge, Patiala House, on January 7, 2020, issued a death warrant against four convicts and scheduled their execution on January 22.

On January 17, the trial court issued black warrants for the second time for the execution of all the four convicts in Tihar jail at 6am on February 1.

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