New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday rejected the mercy petition of Nirbhaya convict Akshay Thakur hours after the Delhi High Court ruled that the four convicts have only a week’s time to avail their legal remedies, failing which he authorities will deal with the situation as per law.

The Delhi HC, headed by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait, also stated that the four accused – Pawan, Vinay, Akshay and Mukesh – cannot be executed separately. The court noted that the convicts are now engaging in a delaying tactic as fresh appeals are being filed every time date of execution is decided.

The President has already rejected the mercy petitions on three out of four Nirbhaya convicts – Mukesh, Vinay and Akshay. Now only Pawan Gupta is left to file a mercy plea.

Meanwhile, the Centre, as well as Delhi government earlier today, moved the Supreme Court challenging the dismissal of their plea over a trial court’s order staying the convicts’ execution. The hanging was scheduled to take place on February 1, after already being delayed from the initial date of January 22.

The Centre and the Delhi government had challenged the trial court’s order on January 31 that stayed the convicts’ execution until further orders. Expressing concern over the delay in execution, the victim’s parents urged the court to expeditiously decide the Centre’s plea and were assured by the judge that the order would be passed at the earliest.

On January 7, warrants for the execution of all the four convicts in Tihar jail at 7 AM on January 22 were issued. However, the convicts could not be hanged because of pendency of mercy petition by one of them. Later, the trial court fixed February 1, 6 AM as the hanging date and time. But that also could be carried out as the trial court on January 31 again stayed the execution after the counsel for three convicts — Pawan, Vinay and Akshay — urged it to adjourn the matter “sine die” saying their legal remedies were yet to be exhausted.