In ten-page order, judge explains why staying gang rape convicts’ hanging was necessary
The Delhi court that stayed the execution of the Delhi gang rape case convicts indefinitely on Friday said, that it could not afford to discriminate against the death row convicts and cited legal rationale for his decision.
In his ten-page order, Judge Dharmendra Rana argued that even hanging one of the four convicts, Mukesh Kumar, who had exhausted his legal remedies against the death sentence, was not legally tenable till the path for the hanging of all four had not been cleared through the exhaustion of all available options.
“The Courts of this country cannot afford to adversely discriminate any convict, including death row convict, in pursuit of his legal remedies, by turning a Nelson’s eye towards him,” said the order.
The judge also relied on Rule 836 of the jail manual which says that “If the sentence of death has been passed on more than one person in the same case, and if an appeal or an application is made by or on behalf of only one or more but not all of them, the execution of the sentence should be postponed in the case of all such persons (prisoners sentenced to death) and not only in the case of the person or persons by whom, or on whose behalf, the appeal or the application is made.”
The Court also dismissed the argument that it had no jurisdiction to defer the execution and cited Section 413 of CrPC to say it was duty-bound to cause the order of sentence of death by issuing a warrant or “taking such other steps” as may be necessary.
“It is not correct to contend that execution of punishment is a matter in the hands of the executive alone and the court has no control over the same,” the order clarifies.
The judge said that seeking redressal of grievances through legal procedures was the hallmark of a civilised society.
“Without commenting upon the dilatory tactics adopted by the convicts, suffice it would be to state that seeking redressal of one’s grievances through procedure established by law is the hallmark of any civilised society,” the judgement says.
The mother of the 2012 Delhi gang rape victim expressed her anguish after the execution of the death warrant was stayed by the court and feared that it may be delayed indefinitely. She asked the government to order the carrying out of the hanging.
Junior Union home minister reacted to the stay on the execution by seeking a debate on the use of delaying tactics by the convicts on death row.
In a related development, the centre’s plea to the Supreme Court seeking the laying down of victim and society-centric guidelines in cases of death penalty to prevent the convicts of heinous crimes taking the judicial system for a ride was accepted by the apex court on Friday for consideration. Centre’s plea moved on January 22, stems from the ongoing outrage against the delay in the hanging of the Delhi gang rape convicts due to filing of review, curative and mercy petitions over a period of several months.