After the date for hanging the convicts in the heinous Nirbhaya gangrape and murder of 2012 has been postponed twice, a Delhi High Court today said that the convicts have seven days in which to exhaust all their legal remedies, reports NDTV. After they have exhausted their legal remedies, the trial court will begin proceedings for their capital punishment, the HC added. A single-judge bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait was hearing the plea filed by the central government challenging the trial court’s order of postponing the execution date indefinitely.

Rejecting the centre’s argument of hanging the convicts separately, Justice Kait said, “Delhi Prison Rules do not say that if mercy petition of one convict is pending, the execution of the other convicts can take place.”

Also read: Seven Years Of Nirbhaya Gangrape Case: Justice Nowhere In Sight

“Since up to the Supreme Court, their fate has been decided by a common judgment, I am of the opinion that death warrant of all convicts should be executed together and not separately,” the court added.

Earlier on January 31, a Delhi court had postponed the hanging for the second time which was slated to happen on February 1. Before this, on January 7, the Delhi court had ordered that the hanging will take place on January 22 which was then pushed to Feb 1 and now indefinitely. This is happening because the convicts – Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Kumar – are using their legal remedies judiciously in order to defer the date of execution.

Convicts’ delaying punishment

In the last two years after three convicts had filed their review petition and it was dismissed by the Supreme Court in July 2018, Akshay had still not filed it. Since then, it was only in December last year that Akshay filed his review petition which has also been dismissed. Now, except Pawan, every other convict’s curative petition has been dismissed. Mukesh is the only one who has exhausted all his legal remedies, including the mercy petition. Akshay and Vinay’s mercy petitions are pending. By making such delays in filling these pleas, they have been delaying their punishment for years now.

Also Read: Nirbhaya Case Convict Akshay Singh Files Mercy Petition

“Delhi Prison Rules do not say that if mercy petition of one convict is pending, the execution of the other convicts can take place.”

Case history

The gangrape and murder case of 23-year-old paramedic Jyoti Singh Pandey aka Nirbhaya on December 12, 2012, created ripples around the globe. It not only led to judicial changes but also triggered dialogue around women’s safety across the country. In this case, a total of six persons were convicted – Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Kumar Singh, Ram Singh and one juvenile person. Of these while Ram Singh committed suicide inside the Tihar Jail in 2013, the juvenile person walked free in 2016 after finishing three years in a correction home. The SC upheld the verdict of the death sentence for the rest of the convicts in 2018.

Picture credit- IB Times

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