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16 December gang rape and murder convicts to now hang at 5.30 am on 20 March

Tihar jail authorities tell Delhi court that all four convicts have exhausted their legal options.

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New Delhi: A Delhi court has, for the fourth time, set a date to execute all four convicts sentenced to death in the 16 December 2012 gang-rape and murder case. The hangings are now set to take place on 20 March at 5.30 am.

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana was informed Thursday that all four convicts have exhausted all legal remedies, including mercy petitions. Tihar jail authorities moved a petition seeking a fresh death warrant under Section 413 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, relying on the fact that no other petition by any of the convicts was pending.

Mukesh Singh, Akshay Kumar Singh, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma were earlier scheduled to be hanged on 3 March. But the hanging was postponed until further orders by judge Rana on 2 March, because Pawan’s mercy petition was pending. The petition was rejected by the President Tuesday.

The first common death warrant against the four convicts was issued on 7 January, and the date of execution was set for January 22. However, it had to be postponed through an order dated 17 January, to 1 February, due to subsequent developments in the legal remedies exercised by the convicts.

Also read: Dread, betrayal, poverty, hope: Stories of forgotten families of 16 Dec gang rape convicts

Post-mercy plea

When the hearing began before judge Rana, advocate A.P. Singh, appearing for the convicts, said he wished to file a “post-mercy plea on behalf of Pawan”, and thus needed the court’s permission to meet him in prison.

The advocate also urged the court that he wished to file an RTI with the President’s office seeking to know which documents he relied upon before dismissing Pawan’s mercy plea.

At this juncture, the Tihar jail authorities said Akshay had not filed any post-mercy plea, and they had not received any such information. Singh insisted that filing a post-mercy plea was a death row convict’s “constitutional right”.

Also read: India needs to abolish death penalty, and not hang 2012 Delhi gangrape convicts



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  1. 1. We are aware of fact that in the Nirbhaya case, patience of family of Nirbhaya, particularly of Nirbhaya’s mother has been severely tested. She has been fighting for justice and one hopes that finally the death sentence against the four death convicts will be implemented. 2. Of course, there can be unending discussion as to whether death penalty is the right punishment and whether it should or should not be abolished. Nirbhaya case has may have, to a certain extent, reopened this debate. However, considering all factors and brutality of crime committed by four death convicts in this case, I also say that that these death convicts deserve no sympathy. 3. One gets a feeling that even if one of the four death convicts had shown some good sense and opposed brutal acts of the other three, life of Nirbhaya would have been saved. This did not happen and that is why the four need to be hanged. 3. I feel that any further delay in execution of death warrants is better avoided to give justice to family of Nirbhaya.

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