New Delhi: In a setback for one of the Nirbhaya convicts, Mukesh Singh, the Delhi Government on Thursday rejected his mercy petition, the only remaining appeal against the death penalty, passing it on Lieutenant Governor who then forwarded it to the Ministry of Home Affairs.

A debate flared up in Delhi High Court yesterday when the Tihar Jail authorities told before the judge that the execution of the convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case cannot take place on January 22, under prison guidelines, as a mercy plea has already been filed.

According to the rules, the execution can take place only 14 days after a decision is taken on mercy plea. As a result, the execution date may be postponed as the government will have to wait until the President gives his decision.

Reacting to a potential delay again in getting justice for her daughter, furious, Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi said, “Either the lawyers of the convicts are trying to delay execution or our system is blind and is supporting the criminals. I’m struggling for the past seven years. Instead of asking me, you should ask the government if convicts will be hanged on January 22 or not.”

She also urged President Ram Nath Kovind to immediately reject the mercy petition of death row convict Mukesh Singh and avoid further delay.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court rejected Mukesh Singh’s curative plea, along with that of Vinay Sharma, following which Singh moved Delhi High Court to file a mercy plea before President Ram Nath Kovind.

The four convicts — Vinay Sharma (26), Mukesh Kumar (32), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) — are scheduled to be hanged on January 22 at 7 AM in Tihar jail as a Delhi court issued their death warrants on January 7.