Merely 12 hours ahead of the much-awaited execution of the four convicts in 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case, the Patiala House court in Delhi on Friday once again directed the Tihar Jail authorities not to execute the four convicts until further notice. The execution was scheduled for February 1st at 6 am.
“Execution is postponed till further orders”, Judge Dharmender Rana said. The execution has been deferred in view of the pendency of one of the convicts Vinay’s mercy plea before the President.
This decision has broken down Asha Devi, Nirbhaya’s mother who has been for the last seven year awaiting justice. She alleged that the convicts’ lawyer AP Singh pointed fingers at her and told her that the hangings have been deferred till eternity.
Asha Devi, mother of the 2012 Delhi gang-rape victim: 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. pic.twitter.com/NqihzqisQo
— ANI (@ANI) January 31, 2020
In a video clip, Asha Devi can be seen totally dejected with the Delhi court’s decision. “Mujrimom ke vakeel AP Singh ne mujhe aaj anguli dikha kar challenge kiya ki ye faasi ab anant kaal tak tal gayi hai (Today, the convicts AP Singh pointed fingers at me and challenged me that he will get the hangings to be postponed till eternity),” Nirbhaya’s mother told reporters outside the court.
— Raj Shekhar Jha (@rajshekharTOI) January 31, 2020
Blaming political parties and Arvind Kejriwal led state government for the delay in executing the convicts, Asha Devi said none of them are interested in implementing the court’s order. “Why do we have a system where nothing happens to the culprits even after courts have pronounced them guilty and awarded sentences?” she asked.
“The government will have to execute them. I will continue my fight. These convicts have no right to live. We keep getting disappointed by the system. I will continue my fight till the convicts are hanged,” she said.
Prior to this, parents of Nirbhaya had alleged that politics is being played over our daughter’s death. Badri Nath Singh, the father of the 2012 Delhi gangrape and mother victim, had said that the AAP government in Delhi came to power using the Nirbhaya case, and now they are again using the case for politics.
On Friday, deferring the execution, Judge Dharmender Rana said: “Without commenting upon the dilatory tactics adopted by the convicts, suffice it would state that seeking referral of one’s grievances through the procedure established by law was the hallmark of any civilized society. The Courts of this country cannot afford to adversely discriminate any convict, including death row convicts in pursuit of his legal remedies, by turning Nelson’s eye towards him.”
Representing convicts Pawan Gupta, Vinay Kumar Sharma and Akshay Kumar, their counsel AP Singh has urged the court to put a stay on executions ‘sine die’ as one of the convicts Vinay’s mercy plea before the president was pending.
Invoking Rule 836 of the prison manual, the lawyer of the convicts told court that in a case where more than one person has been handed over the death penalty, the execution cannot take place unless all the convicts have exhausted their legal options.
The four convicts in 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case were sentenced to death by a trial court in September 2013, and the verdict was confirmed by the Delhi High Court in March 2014 and upheld by the Supreme Court in May 2017, which also dismissed their review petition in July 2018.
On 17th January 2020, the President had rejected the mercy plea of Mukesh Singh. After the President rejected the petition, Tihar jail approached the court for reissue of the death warrant. Accordingly, a Delhi court had issued fresh death warrants for the four convicts and ordered that they will be hanged at 6 AM on February 1.