Court refused to set aside execution order against Nirbhaya convicts

New Delhi: The execution of the four Nirbhaya case convicts “will surely not take place” on January 22 because of a mercy petition filed by one of them, the Delhi government told the High Court on Wednesday. But the court refused to set aside the death warrant put out by a trial court judge, saying there was “nothing wrong with it”.
Vinay Sharma, Mukesh Kumar, Akshay Kumar Singh and Pawan Gupta were to be hanged next Wednesday at 7 am in Tihar jail, the trial court judge had declared last week, signing a death warrant seven years after a young medical student was gang-raped on a moving bus, tortured and killed in December 2012.
Mukesh Singh filed a mercy petition on Tuesday. Even after it is rejected, a convict has to be given 14 days’ notice before execution. The High Court refused to hear his petition challenging the death warrant, asking him to approach the trial court.
None of the four convicts can be executed on January 22 unless the mercy plea is decided, the court was told.
“The fate of a death convict comes to finality only after his mercy plea is rejected by the President,” said lawyer Rahul Mehra, representing the Delhi government.
Mehra told the court that the pattern followed by the convicts to file their mercy pleas separately was a strategy to “frustrate the process of law”. After one plea, the government would need to wait for the other convicts to exhaust their mercy pleas as well, he said.
“Then your rule is bad if you cannot take action till all the co-convicts have moved mercy plea. There has been no application of mind. The system is suffering from cancer,” said the High Court.
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday dismissed the curative pleas of Mukesh and Vinay, closing their last legal option.
Nirbhaya’s mother requested President Ram Nath Kovind to summarily reject the mercy petition of Mukesh Singh. “They will be hanged on the decided date, no matter which court they approach,” she told reporters.
On January 7, the day the trial court declared the hanging date and issued the death warrant for the four convicts, the mother of Mukesh Singh had walked up to Nirbhaya’s mother and begged for her son’s life. “After crying for seven years, I have become a stone. I felt nothing,” Nirbhaya’s mother later told NDTV on that moment.