2012 Delhi gangrape case: Convicts won't be hanged tomorrow, rules court; Pawan Gupta filed mercy petition with president
The four convicts —Vinay Sharma, Akshay Singh Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh — were scheduled to be hanged at 6 am tomorrow at Delhi's Tihar Jail.
A Delhi court on Monday stayed the execution of the four convicts in 2012 Delhi gangrape and murder until further orders in view of the mercy petition filed by Pawan Gupta before President Ram Nath Kovind
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana said the death sentence cannot be executed pending disposal of mercy petition of convict Pawan Kumar Gupta
Earlier in the day, Gupta had filed a clemency petition before the president after his curative petition had been dismissed by the Supreme Court
A Delhi court on Monday stayed the execution of the four convicts in 2012 Delhi gangrape and murder case until further orders in view of the mercy petition filed by Pawan Gupta before President of India Ram Nath Kovind. The four convicts —Vinay Sharma, Akshay Singh Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh — were scheduled to be hanged at 6 am tomorrow at Delhi's Tihar Jail.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana said that the death sentence cannot be executed since disposal of mercy petition of convict Pawan Kumar Gupta is pending.
Judge Rana had dismissed a petition by Gupta and Thakur seeking stay on the execution at 12 pm. He, however, agreed to hear the matter again after he was informed by advocate AP Singh, the convicts' counsel, that Gupta's mercy petition was pending before the president.
Earlier in the day, Gupta had filed a clemency petition before the president after his curative petition had been dismissed by the Supreme Court.
During the hearing which began afresh at 2 pm, public prosecutor Irfan Ahmed opposed Singh's application and contended that the plea is not maintainable. He said that the court cannot pass any order at this stage adding that this petition is premature.
PTI reported Tihar authorities as saying that the ball is in the government's court, after filing of the mercy petition, and the judge has no role for now. They said the President will seek a status report from the jail on Pawan's mercy plea and when that happens, they will suo motu stay the execution.
Lawyer for victim's family advocate Jitender Jha also submitted that that trial court does not have jurisdiction to deal with this situation. He further said that only the high court can impose stay as per Section 415 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which deals with the postponement of execution sentence of death in case of appeal to the Supreme Court.
Judge Rana pulled up Singh for ignoring the Delhi High Court's 5 February order granting a week's time to the convicts to exhaust all legal remedied available to them.
The Delhi High Court had on 5 February directed all four convicts to exhaust their legal remedies within seven days. After that, the authorities should proceed as per law, it had said.
"How can this Court ignore it? Once the Delhi High Court had given you seven days' time, it is binding upon me. How do we ignore those instructions?" said Judge Rana. "You as a death row convict are looking to disrespect the high court's order. Under what law should I come to your rescue?" PTI quoted the judge as saying during the hearing.
The judge also told Singh that "he was playing with fire" and told him to be cautious and added "one wrong move by anybody, and you know the consequences".
However, he held that even though the mercy petition had been filed after the time period prescribed by the high court had elapsed, that by itself did not raise questions on its maintainability.
"Rule 840 (of Delhi Prison Rules) lays down the procedure for dealing with the mercy petition, if the same is moved after the prescribed period, and it nowhere says that the mercy petition beyond the prescribed period deserves to be summarily rejected on account of limitation", the order stated.
Pawan, on Friday, had filed a curative petition before the Supreme Court, seeking commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment. He was the fourth convict in the case to file a curative petition. The top court has already rejected the curative petitions of the remaining three. The mercy petitions of the other three convicts have also been rejected by the president.
The date of execution had been initially set by the court for 22 January. It was postponed twice, first to 1 February and then to 3 March.
The case pertains to the gangrape and brutal attack on a 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus on the night of 16 December, 2012, by six people including a juvenile in Delhi. The woman had died at a Singapore hospital a few days later.
With inputs from agencies
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