‘Mockery of justice’: Govt opposes 4 rape convicts’ plea to stop their execution
A Delhi court will decide on giving a new date to hang the four convicts in the 2012 Delhi gang rape case on Friday. The four convicts - Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) - had approached the court to stop execution of their February 1 death warrant.
During the course of hearing on Thursday, the Tihar Jail authorities opposed the stay on the February 1 death warrant. Public prosecutor lashed out at the petition filed by the four convicts saying, “This is complete mockery of justice.”
In an application filed in the court, their lawyer AP Singh told the judge that a mercy plea filed by 26-year-old Vinay Kumar Sharma to seek a presidential pardon was still pending.
Lawyer AP Singh 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. Earlier, on January 7, the court had fixed January 22 as the hanging date.
The four 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.
The confirmation of the death verdict by the high court and the subsequent appeals, however, are still continuing.
As of now, only Mukesh has exhausted all his legal remedies including the clemency plea which was dismissed by President Ram Nath Kovind on January 17 and the appeal against the rejection was thrown out by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.