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.
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”.