New Delhi: The Delhi High Court will, at 3 PM on Sunday, give its order on the Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) plea against indefinite stay on the execution of the four convicts in the 2012 Delhi gang-rape and murder case. In a hearing on Saturday, the court issued a notice to DG Tihar, Tihar Jail authorities and the four death row convicts, seeking their reply in this regard.Also Read - 'Taking Law For a Joy Ride': MHA Moves HC Challenging Stay on Death Warrants of Nirbhaya Case Convicts
Accusing the convicts of ‘taking law for a joyride,’ the MHA had on Saturday moved the Delhi HC, seeking execution of at least two of the convicts-Mukesh Singh and Vinay Sharma-who have exhausted all their legal options. The four were scheduled to be executed at 6 AM on February 1 but the hanging was stayed by a trial court on Friday due to Vinay filing a mercy petition before the President earlier that day. Also Read - President Rejects Convict Vinay Sharma's Mercy Plea | When Can Nirbhaya Rapists be Hanged?
President Ram Nath Kovind rejected his mercy petition on Saturday after which the Centre moved the court. Also Read - Nirbhaya Case: No Hanging Today as Delhi Court Postpones Execution of All Four Rapists Till Further Orders
Arguing on behalf of the Centre, Solicitor General (S-G) Tushar Mehta, its second senior-most law officer, remarked that the four convicts were ‘testing the patience of the entire country’ with their delaying tactics. “This gang-rape case will go down in the history of India where convicts of the heinous crime are trying the patience of country,” the S-G said in the court.
He further urged the court to direct the trial court to issue a fresh death warrant for Mukesh and Vinay. Jail rules, however, mandate that the four, who were sentenced to death by a single verdict, be hanged together and bars hanging them one by one. Citing a 2014 verdict of the Supreme Court, the S-G said that any delay in hanging would have a ‘dehumanising effect’ on the death row convict.
Of the two remaining convicts, while Akshay Thakur yesterday filed a mercy petition before the President after the rejection of his curative petition by the top court, Pawan Gupta is yet to exercise either of the two options.
The four were earlier scheduled to be hanged at 7 AM on January 22. But that hanging was postponed due to Mukesh filing mercy plea before President Kovind. According to rules, a death row convict can be executed only 14 days after the rejection of his mercy plea.