After a special hearing which started around 10 PM, the Delhi HC on Thursday dismissed the late night petition filed by the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya case seeking stay of execution scheduled to take place tomorrow at 5.30 AM.
A bench of Justice Manmohan and Sanjeev Narula said there was no merit in the petition.
The hearing was held at the residence of Justice Manmohan.
The Court was considering the revision petition filed by Nirbhaya case convicts against the order of Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana of Patiala House rejecting the plea seeking to stay the death warrant issued to them.
A Division Bench headed by Justice Manmohan to hear now an appeal filed by #nirbhayaconvicts against the order of sessions Judge refusing to stay the death warrant against them #NirbhayaCase— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) March 19, 2020
A Division Bench headed by Justice Manmohan to hear now an appeal filed by #nirbhayaconvicts against the order of sessions Judge refusing to stay the death warrant against them #NirbhayaCase
While dismissing the plea, the bench noted that the plea was filed without any foundation. The petition was filed even without any index, list of dates, memo of parties, annexures or affidavits.
"The time is close for your client to meet God. Why waste our time? We have no time", told the bench to AP Singh.
"No valid ground has been brought to my notice to justify the stay of execution of death warrants", the Court said.
During the hearing, the bench repeatedly admonished Advocate A P Singh for making irrelevant submissions without merits.
"You have to be fair to us. You come at this hour, merely 5-6 hours before the execution and fail to substantiate your point. Unfortunately, your petition has no legal foundation", Justice Manmohan said.
Advocate Singh repeated his arguments in the earlier proceedings, attacking the validity of the trial. He claimed that his clients were victims of "media trial", and "police torture".
Singh even said that he has not been able to produce relevant documents on account of shutdown due to Coronavirus outbreak. When he sought for two days adjournment for producing documents, the Court remarked that the petition would be "infructuous" by then.
The plea was moved on the ground that the second mercy petition filed by convict Akshay Singh was pending before the President.
Advocate A P Singh, who appeared for the convicts, submitted that a plea has also been made to the International Court of Justice for intervention in execution. A petition has been filed before the Election Commission of India in respect of alleged politicization of the case .
Referring to the SC judgment in the 2015 Yakub Memon case, the trial court had said that pendency of any subsequent mercy plea was not a ground to suspend death.
With respect to the argument that convict Pawan is yet to submit challenge the rejection of his mercy plea, the trial court observed that the Delhi High Court had ordered on February 5 that the convicts must exhaust their legal remedies within 7 days.
"The condemned convict cannot be permitted to frustrate the course of law by simply opting to remain indolent...
Condemned convict Pawan, in stark defiance of the directions of the Hon'ble Delhi High Court, has opted not to exhaust his legal remedies. One who seeks protection of law first needs to learn to respect it. Therefore, I do not find any plausible reasons to suspend the execution of death sentence simply because convict Pawan has opted not to exercise his legal remedy", ASJ Dharmender Rana said in the order.
After the hearing on Thursday night, the bench headed by Justice Manmohan said that they did not find any error in the trial court's order.
The execution, initially scheduled on January 22, has been postponed three times till now.