New Delhi: Seven years of long wait ended on March 20 and justice was finally delivered when the four convicts of the 2012 gruesome gang-rape and murder case were hanged at Delhi’s Tihar Jail at 5:30 AM. People across the country, including Nirbhaya’s village people, celebrated the victory of justice soon after the Tihar Jail authorities declared that the convicts were dead.Also Read - Nirbhaya Case Lawyer AP Singh to Defend 4 Upper Caste Men Accused in Hathras Gangrape Case | Roundup
However, in the whole crowd, one person was not happy about the news as from day one, he was trying to delay the execution by using all remedies available in the legal system. He was none other than convicts’ lawyer advocate AP Singh. Also Read - Nirbhaya's Lawyer, Set to Fight Hathras Gang Rape Case, Stopped from Meeting Dalit Victim's Family
Just three hours before the hanging, in his late-night attempt to delay the execution, AP Singh, on behalf of the convicts moved Supreme Court with fresh pleas, forcing the apex court to open its door in the wee hours on Friday. Not happy with Delhi High Court’s ruling, he filed petition after petition, but all went in vein. In a hurry, advocate AP Singh approached the Registrar of the Supreme Court and sought an early hearing immediately after the Delhi High Court refused to stay the hanging of the convicts. Also Read - 'Death no Solution, Just a Dark Stain on India's Human Rights Record,' Amnesty International on Nirbhaya Hanging
Opening its door in the middle of the night to hear the last plea challenging the rejection of the second mercy petition by President Ram Nath Kovind, the apex court rejected the plea saying there is no ground to review the President’s decision to reject the mercy plea.
However, this is the not first time that the convicts’ lawyer has attempted legal means to delay the execution. Prior to this, he had approached the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on March 17 to delay the hanging. AP Singh said that he has approached the NHRC seeking a stay on the execution of the four death row convicts.
“We have appealed the NHRC to stay the March 20 death warrant, which is a miscarriage of justice. The basis for the appeal is that Ram Singh, who was believed to have committed suicide in Tihar Jail, has a 70-year-old mother and a 10-year-old son,” Singh had said.
But the petition could not bear fruit as the NHRC dismissed the plea, saying “So far as the prayer made by the complainant to stay execution of the death sentence is concerned, it is apparent that the said convict Mukesh Kumar has already approached the appropriate authorities and the authorities have exercised their jurisdiction judiciously. The matter is outside the purview of the Commission.”
Prior to this, AP Singh had also approached the International Court of Justice to delay the hanging of the convicts. On March 16, three of the four death row convicts in the gangrape case approached the ICJ, seeking a stay on the execution of their death sentence. However, it was another failed attempt of the lawyer to stay the execution.
Apart from this, advocate AP Singh had tried yet another attempt to delay the hanging by making one of the convicts’ wife filing a divorce case in the court. However, hearing the matter, the Delhi High Court on Thursday said that pendency of a divorce plea of death row convict Akshay Kumar Singh’s wife was not relevant to stay his execution along with three other convicts.
The high court bench said that the Supreme Court has already held that the pending divorce plea was no longer relevant. The court also stated that the death sentence has attained finality and the court cannot sit and review over it.
After all legal remedies were exhausted, the four convicts Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) were hanged in Tihar Jail at 5:30 AM.
According to updates, this is the first time that four convicts were hanged together in Tihar Jail, South Asia’s largest prison complex that houses more than 16,000 inmates.
Soon after the hanging news was circulated by the jail authorities, hundreds of people gathered outside the jail shouted slogans of ‘Long Live Nirbhaya’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and some distributing even sweets to one another.
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