The Delhi High Court will pronounce judgment tomorrow on the revision petitions filed by Union Ministry of Home Affairs against the January 31 order of the Trial Court which stayed the executions of four convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape and murder case until further orders.
Justice Suresh Kumar Kait had reserved orders on the petitions after a special hearing held on Sunday afternoon.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana had stayed the hangings, which were scheduled on February 1, citing the reason that all the convicts had not exhausted their legal remedies.
During the proceedings in HC, it was argued by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the Trial Court erroneously interpreted Rule 836 of Delhi Prison Rules, to hold that pendency of mercy petition of even one of the convicts would automatically stay the execution of the death sentence all the other co convicts.
He submitted that the word 'application' in Rules 836 and 856, refer to judicial applications such as SLPs and criminal appeals. It does not include a mercy petition, as the same is not a judicial application but an executive application.
"'Convicts are trying the patience of the nation. People will stop having faith in the judicial system. 7 years have gone by and the convicts are playing the judicial system", SG said, while adding that situations like this make people celebrate encounter killings.
Senior Advocate Rebecca M John and Advocate A P Singh appeared for the convicts.
Since the convicts were charged for having common intention to hatch a criminal conspiracy the punishment against them can be executed only together, John submitted.
The trial court has not said that death warrant cannot be executed, said John, but only that it can be done only after the exhaustion of all legal remedies by the convicts.
Out of the four convicts, Mukesh Singh has exhausted all his legal remedies, including mercy petition and also the challenge against the rejection of mercy.
The President had rejected the mercy plea of convict Vinay Sharma on Saturday.
Another convict Akshay Kumar Thakur filed mercy petition on Saturday. The fourth convict Pawan Gupta has not yet filed curative petition in SC and mercy plea before the President.