New Delhi: The four Nirbhaya convicts, who were scheduled to be hanged on Feb 1 at 6 AM , got last minute relive as a Delhi court stayed their execution till further notice. The development comes minutes after Pawan Gupta’s claim of being a minor at the time of offence was dismissed by the Supreme Court. Gupta had filed a review petition before the top court challenging its earlier order of dismissal of his Juvenile plea.
Reacting over the court’s decision, Asha Devi, mother of the 2012 Delhi gang-rape victim said,”The lawyer of the convicts, AP Singh has challenged me saying that the convicts will never be executed. I will continue my fight. The government will have to execute the convicts.”
Earlier in the day, additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana heard the arguments of Tihar Jail authorities and AP Singh and Vrinda Grover–the counsel of the convicts. During the course of hearing, Tihar jail authorities said that only one convict’s mercy plea is pending. Others can be hanged. In counter, the convicts’ lawyer said when one convict’s plea is pending, rules dictate that others cannot be hanged.
The four convicts – Mukesh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) – were scheduled to be executed on January 22. However, it was delayed as Mukesh filed a mercy plea with the President. As per prison rules, a death row convict can only be hanged 14 days after the rejection of his mercy petition.
On the intervening night of December 16 and December 17, 2012, Nirbhaya, a 23-year-old paramedic student, was brutally gang-raped and assaulted inside a moving bus near nationa capital’s Munirka area by six persons before being dumped on the road. Two weeks later on December 29, she succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital.
Within 48 hours of the crime, the Delhi police arrested all the six accused and charged them with sexual assault and murder. While the prime accused in the case, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide inside Tihar Jail, one of the convicts, a minor, who was just short of 18 when the crime took place appeared before the juvenile justice court and released after three years in a reform home.