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Nirbhaya Case : SC Dismisses Final Plea Of Convicts To Stay Execution After Past Midnight Hearing [Read Order]

Nilashish Chaudhary
20 March 2020 12:02 AM GMT
Nirbhaya Case : SC Dismisses Final Plea Of Convicts To Stay Execution After Past Midnight Hearing [Read Order]
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Hours before the scheduled execution, the convicts in the Nirbhaya case knocked the doors of the Supreme Court past midnight, hoping for a last minute judicial intervention to extend their lives.

But the last ditch effort of the convicts met with no success, as the bench comprising Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna dismissed the plea, after a special sitting which commenced at around 2.45 AM.

At about 3.30 AM, the bench dictated the order dismissing the writ petition filed on behalf of convict Pawan Kumar Gupta, challenging the rejection of his mercy petition by the President.

The Court said that the scope of judicial review over the exercise of mercy powers by the President was very limited. The bench held that there was no legal foundation in the petition, and that the same was devoid of merits.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the petitioner's lawyer A P Singh was reiterating the submissions made at the earlier stages, which were already rejected by Courts. The well-reasoned findings made by the Courts on the merits of the matter cannot be re-opened at this stage, submitted the SG.

After the dismissal of the petition, A P Singh made a final plea to allow the convicts' families to meet them for the final time before the execution. The bench said it has no objection to it, provided the jail manual permitted.

However, the Solicitor General submitted that the jail manual did not permit such a final minute meeting. The Solicitor General also turned down the plea for allowing Akshay's 8 year old son to meet him, saying it will leave a "painful scar" in the child's memory.

On Thursday late night, the Delhi High Court had dismissed the revision petition filed by the convicts challenging the trial court's order refusing to stay the execution.

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 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 at the residence of Delhi HC judge Justice Manmohan, 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.

Click Here To Download Order

[Read Order]

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