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Nirbhaya convicts cannot be hanged on January 22: Delhi government tells HC as one convict’s mercy plea is pending

The Tihar jail authorities have reportedly conveyed that they are duty-bound to serve a 14-day notice to the convict after the rejection of their mercy plea. The Delhi government has recommended rejection of mercy plea.

The Aam Aadmi party-led Delhi government has told the Delhi High court that execution of the death row convicts in the Nirbhaya rape and murder case will not take place on January 22 as a mercy plea has been filed by one of them.

As per reports, Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal were told by the Delhi government that the petition filed by convict Mukesh, challenging his death warrant, was premature.

Quoting prison rules, the Kejriwal government told the court that they are duty-bound to wait for convict’s mercy plea to be decided for executing the death warrant.

As per reports, Advocate Rahul Mehra, the standing counsel for the Tihar Jail authorities have stated that ‘Execution of convicts (2012 Nirbhaya case) will surely not take place on January 22’. He added that the execution can take place only 14 days after the final mercy plea has been rejected by the president. The Tihar jail authorities have reportedly conveyed that they are duty-bound to serve a 14-day notice to the convict after the rejection of their mercy plea.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the curative petitions filed by two of the four convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya case, Mukesh and Vinay Sharma, challenging the May 2017 judgment of the court that had upheld their conviction and death sentence.

Immediately after the Supreme court rejected the curative petitions, Mukesh had filed his mercy plea before the President.

A curative petition is the penultimate legal option against the death sentence.

The four convicts, Vinay Sharma (26), Mukesh Kumar (32), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25), are to be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar jail. A Delhi court had issued their death warrants on January 7.

The four adult accused were convicted by the trial court in September 2013, and was awarded a death sentence. The High Court had upheld that verdict in March 2014. In the same year, the Supreme Court had stayed their execution until their appeal was heard by the apex court.

Read: Delhi pollution is killing us anyway: Death row convict in Nirbhaya case mocks supreme court with bizarre arguments in the review petition

In May 2017 the Supreme Court had rejected their appeal against the death sentence, and in 2019 the review petitions were also dismissed. Subsequently, the president had rejected their mercy plea on the recommendation of the Home Ministry.

Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur were convicted of brutally raping and murdering a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, nicknamed as Nirbhaya by media, on December 16, 2012. The fifth convict was a minor, and he was released after spending 3 years in a juvenile home. The sixth person involved in the crime and also the main accused, Ram Singh was found dead during the trial period in Tihar Jail on March 11, 2013. He had allegedly committed suicide.

The hearing which is going on since morning will continue post-lunch. Latest media reports say that the Delhi government has recommended the rejection of the mercy plea by Mukesh Singh.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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