Delhi court to hear plea of 2012 gang rape convicts against Feb 1 execution
A Delhi court will on Friday hear a plea by two of the 2012 gang rape and murder convicts, seeking a stay on their execution scheduled for February 1. The plea was moved in the Delhi court by advocate AP Singh, who is representing convicts Akshay Thakur and Vinay Sharma.
The matter will be heard by Additional Sessions Judge AK Jain today at 2 pm, according to news agency ANI. The court had on Thursday issued a notice to the Tihar jail authorities seeking its response on a petition filed by the convicts and asked the prison officials to submit a status report today.
Responding to petition filed by Singh, public prosecutor Irfan Ahmad had told the court on Thursday that this is “complete mockery of justice”. “Convicts’ lawyers are taking too much time to use their legal remedies,” he said.
Lawyer AP Singh had told the judge that a mercy plea filed by 26-year-old Vinay to seek a presidential pardon was still pending. He also cited provisions of the Delhi Prison Rules that make it clear that none of the four convicts in the same crime can be hanged before the last one has exhausted all legal options including the mercy petition.
Besides, Singh also drew the court’s attention to the 2014 verdict of the Supreme Court that ordered jail authorities to give death row convicts 14 days after rejection of their mercy plea before hanging them.
The trial court had on January 17 issued black warrants for the second time for the execution of all the four convicts in the case in Tihar jail at 6 am on February 1.
Meanwhile, the hangman tasked with executing the four convicts reported for ‘work’ at Delhi’s Tihar jail on Thursday afternoon. Sindhi Ram, who also goes by the monicker Pawan Jallad, is a resident of Meerut who has been brought to the national capital to execute the men, and reportedly visited the hanging courtyard inside jail number 3.
“He checked the hanging courtyard and arrangements made by jail authorities. The gallows were redone to execute the four at the same time. Earlier, only two persons could be executed at one time. Though this is the first time he will be executing someone, he seems to be well prepared. He checked the ropes and the machine that will be used for the hanging,” a senior prisoner officer said.
The four convicts - Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) - were sentenced to death by a fast-track court in just about a year of the gruesome crime that had brought thousands of people on the streets to protest. It led to a major overhaul of laws surrounding sexual assault. Their victim, a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, 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.