A Delhi Court on Tuesday issued death warrant for the hanging of four convicts in the Nirbhaya rape-murder case on January 22 at 7 AM.
The four convicts - Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Singh - were informed of the order via video conferencing.
Additional Sessions Judge Satish Arora of Patiala House Courts was considering the plea for execution of death warrants against them. In December 2018, Nirbhaya's parents had moved the Patiala House Court to expedite the procedure of executing the death penalty.
In today's proceedings, Advocate ML Sharma filed an application before the court stating that he'll be representing Mukesh in the present case. Subsequently, he also filed vakalatnama mentioning himself as Akshay's counsel. He cited his continued ill health as a reason for such a delayed filing of Akshay's vakalatnama.
Advocate Vrinda Grover, who was appointed as an Amicus Curiae in this case, informed the court that she had interviewed the convicts in prison and perused their documents. She submitted a report before the court stating her observations.
She informed the court that the process of filing curative petitions is underway. She's awaiting few documents pertaining to the convicts without which curative pleas can't be filed.
Further, she also submitted before the court that the jail authorities did not give the complete information to the convicts in the notices issued to them in pursuance of this court's last order.
In those notices, the jail authorities had informed the convicts that the only remedy available to them is a mercy plea. This is misleading, as the notices failed to mention curative petition as another remedy available to the convicts, Grover submitted.
The Prosecutors Irfan Ahmad and Rajiv Mohan sought for immediate issuance of death warrants by submitting that no petitions of the convicts were pending in any courts at present.
They referred to Section 413 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to argue that death warrant is a natural consequence of confirmation of death penalty.
They also cited judgments of the Supreme Court in Mohd Arif's case to submit that curative and mercy pleas can be moved even after passing of the death warrant. The said:
'While dismissing the review plea of Akshay, Supreme Court sent a categorical message that no further delay should be caused in this matter'.
It was also argued by the Prosecutors that since the review petitions were not rejected in circulation, convicts have no ground to file a curative petition.
It was further submitted that one of the convicts Vinay had earlier sought for filing a curative petition but a Senior Advocate recommended that there were no grounds for it.
The Prosecutors further submitted that the execution petition had been pending since December 2018 and that the convicts are trying to delay the matter.
On December 18, 2019, the Sessions Judge had directed Tihar jail authorities to serve fresh notice to the convicts, in the light of the fresh developments in the case, viz, the dismissal of the review petition of Akshay Singh by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court dismissed the review petition of Akshay Kumar Singh, one of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya case on December 18. The review pleas of the other three convicts - Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, Mukesh Singh -were dismissed way back in July 2018 itself.
The crime happened on December 16, 2012, when five adult men and a juvenile lured the 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist and her male friend onto a bus in Delhi, where they repeatedly raped the woman and beat both with a metal bar before dumping them on a road. The woman, later dubbed Nirbhaya (meaning fearless), died two weeks later of her injuries. Four of the adults were sentenced to death while the fifth hanged himself in prison.