Monday, 30th October 2017

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Supreme Court: Seek rape death warrants

Mehta, in his brief submission, told the court the convicts were trying the patience of the nation

By Our Legal Correspondent in New Delhi
  • Published 12.02.20, 3:59 AM
  • Updated 12.02.20, 3:59 AM
  • a min read
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The bench of Justices R. Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A.S. Bopanna asked the Centre to move the trial court as the one-week deadline Delhi High Court had fixed for the convicts to exhaust all legal remedies ends on Thursday. Telegraph file picture

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to approach a trial court for fresh death warrant against the four convicts in the December 2012 gang-rape-and-murder case even as solicitor-general Tushar Mehta contended that delays in executing such convicts was one reason people celebrate encounter killings of criminals.

Mehta referred to a recent incident on the outskirts of Hyderabad where four men accused of raping and murdering their victim, a veterinary doctor, were shot dead by local police in an alleged encounter.

The bench of Justices R. Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A.S. Bopanna asked the Centre to move the trial court as the one-week deadline Delhi High Court had fixed for the convicts to exhaust all legal remedies ends on Thursday.

“You can go back to the trial court. There is no impediment in seeking issuance of fresh death warrant…,” the bench said.

Mehta, in his brief submission, told the court the convicts were trying the patience of the nation.

“People will stop having faith in the judicial system. Seven years have gone by and the convicts are playing with the judicial system. It is in situations like this that people celebrate encounter killings,” he said, citing the Hyderabad incident.

“We are not saying anything on execution for enjoyment. It is the mandate of the law and we are executing it,” Mehta said.

The bench adjourned the matter while asking the Centre to approach the trial court for fresh death warrants if the convicts filed no fresh petitions.

Till then, the court said, it would keep pending the Centre’s petition challenging last Wednesday’s Delhi High Court order refusing to quash the trial court’s stay on the execution of the four convicts.

The high court had concurred with the findings of the trial court that the four could be hanged only together in terms of the Delhi prison rules manual.

The trial court had on January 31 stayed “till further orders” the execution of the four — Mukesh Kumar Singh, 32, Pawan, 25, Vinay, 26, and Akshay, 31 — who are lodged in Tihar jail.