2012 Delhi gangrape case: Court defers execution after convict Pawan files mercy plea
A Delhi court on Monday deferred till further orders the hanging of four death row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gang rape and murder case.
The hanging of the four convicts was scheduled for Tuesday at 6am.
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, the court dismissed the pleas of two of the four convicts, which sought stay on the execution of their death warrants.
The court, however, decided to hear the Pawan's lawyer after it was informed that he has filed a mercy plea before the President after his curative petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court earlier in the day.
The Union home ministry has received Pawan's mercy petition, officials said. It will forward the petition to President Ram Nath Kovind for his consideration and decision.
At the hearing, additional session judge Dharmender Rana asked Pawan's lawyer, A. P. Singh, to come post lunch to argue on why stay of execution be granted.
The court dismissed the applications for stay moved by Pawan and co-convict Akshay Kumar Singh.
After the order was passed, Pawan's lawyer informed the court that he has filed a mercy plea before the President and the execution be stayed.
Akshay, in his application for stay, had said that he has filed a fresh mercy petition before the President of India, which is pending.
He contended that his earlier mercy petition, which was dismissed by the President, did not have complete facts.
Pawan had taken the ground that he has filed a curative petition before the Supreme Court. He had also said that he had an option to file a mercy petition.
Both the convicts told the court further that a number of other petitions are also pending before the Supreme Court and other authorities.
The court had on February 17 ordered that the four convicts -- Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) -- be hanged on March 3 after it issued fresh death warrants, observing that deferring the execution any further would be 'sacrilegious' to the rights of the victim for expeditious justice.
It directed that the four men be hanged by neck on March 3 at 6am until they are dead. This was for the third time that the death warrants were issued by the court against them.
The court had noted that death warrants were earlier issued on January 7 and the execution was later deferred twice, i.e., on January 17 and January 31.
'Now deferring it any further would be sacrilegious to the rights of the victim for expeditious justice,' it had said.
The first date of execution, January 22, was postponed to February 1 by a January 17 court order. Then the trial court, on January 31, stayed, 'till further orders' the execution of the four convicts as they had not exhausted all their legal remedies.
The court is hearing the applications by the victim's parents and the Delhi government, seeking fresh death warrants for the convicts after the Supreme Court granted liberty to the authorities to approach the trial court for issuance of fresh date for the execution of these convicts.
The 23-year-old physiotherapy intern was gang-raped and savagely assaulted on the night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in south Delhi. She died of her injuries a fortnight later in a Singapore hospital.