16 December gangrape
Illustration by Arindam Mukherjee | ThePrint
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New Delhi: The four death row convicts in the 16 December 2012 gang rape and murder case are set to be hanged at 5.30 am Friday, after a long legal battle during which they exercised and exhausted all options available before them to avoid being sent to the gallows.

Here is a look at the petitions filed by the convicts to avoid death penalty and the decisions taken by courts on them:

5 May, 2017: SC upholds death penalty of four convicts, says the case falls under the category of ‘rarest of rare’ and the offence created “tsunami of shock”.

8 Nov, 2017: Mukesh, one of the four convicts in the case, moves SC seeking review of its verdict upholding the capital punishment awarded to him.

15 Dec, 2017: Convicts Vinay Sharma and Pawan Kumar Gupta move SC for review of the verdict.

4 May, 2018: SC reserves order on review plea by Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta.

9 July: SC dismisses review pleas of Mukesh, Vinay and Pawan.

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10 Feb, 2019: Victim’s parents move Delhi court for issuance of death warrants of the four convicts.

10 December, 2019: Akshay moves plea in SC seeking review of his death penalty.

13 December: Victim’s mother moves SC opposing review plea of convict.

18 December: SC dismisses Akshay’s review plea.

18 December: Delhi govt seeks death warrants for execution of death sentence to the 4 convicts.

18 December: Delhi court directs Tihar authorities to issue notice to convicts to avail their remaining legal remedies.

19 December: Delhi HC dismisses plea of Pawan who had claimed he was a juvenile at the time of committing the offence.

Also read: Days before hanging, 16 December rapists have ‘lost appetite, are watching Bollywood films’


6 January, 2020: Delhi court dismisses complaint filed by Pawan’s father seeking FIR against sole witness.

7 January: Delhi court orders 4 convicts to be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar jail.

14 January: SC rejects curative petition of Vinay and Mukesh.

14 January: Mukesh files mercy petition before President.

17 January: President Ram Nath Kovind rejects mercy plea of Mukesh.

17 January: Trial court issues death warrants again with execution date as 1 February, 6 am.

25 January: Mukesh moves SC against rejection of mercy plea.

29 January: Convict Akshay approaches SC with his curative petition.

29 January: SC rejects plea of Mukesh challenging rejection of his mercy plea.

30 January: SC dismisses curative plea of Akshay Kumar Singh.

31 January: SC dismisses plea filed by Pawan seeking review of its order rejecting his juvenility claim.

31 January: Delhi court again postpones execution of the black warrants till further order.

1 February: Centre moves HC against the trial court order.

2 February: HC reserves judgment on Centre’s plea.

5 February: HC dismisses Centre’s plea against trial court order, says all four convicts have to be hanged together. It directs the convicts to pursue all legal remedies within a week, failing which the authorities ordered to take action in accordance with law.

17 February: Vinay Sharma files a petition seeking better treatment for mental illness, schizophrenia and head, and arm injuries.

17 February: Fresh death warrants issued for 3 March.

22 February: Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana rejects the plea by Vinay. Tihar jail authorities terms his claims as a “bundle of distorted facts” and tells the court that CCTV footage established that the convict had inflicted “superficial” injuries on himself and was not suffering from any psychological disorder.

25 February: Supreme Court says it will hear on 5 March the plea filed by the central government challenging the Delhi High Court verdict that held the four death row convicts have to be executed together and not separately.

4 March: Pawan files his mercy plea before the President.

5 March: Delhi Court issues new death warrant stating hanging will take place on 20 March.

17 March: Akshay, one of the four convicts in the gruesome crime, writes second mercy petition to President Ram Nath Kovind. The petition submitted to Tihar Jail authorities, which is to transfer it to the Ministry of Home Affairs through the Delhi government.

17 March: Mukesh’s mother files an application in the NHRC and demands an inquiry into Ram Singh’s suicide in Tihar jail. Mukesh’s elder brother Ram Singh was also an accused in this case. Mukesh’s mother seeks stay on the execution of the sentence as Mukesh is a witness in the case. NHRC dismisses the petition.

17 March: Wife of Akshay, Punita Devi, files for a divorce in a local court in Bihar’s Aurangabad. The plea says she does not want to live the life of a widow after her husband is hanged. The court posts the matter for 19 March.

18 March: Delhi HC reserves order after concluding arguments on Mukesh’s plea challenging trial court order dismissing his plea that sought quashing of the death penalty claiming he wasn’t in Delhi when the gang rape took place.

18 March: Delhi HC dismisses Mukesh’s plea.

19 March: Convict Pawan Gupta files curative plea in SC urging his death sentence be commuted to life imprisonment as he was a minor at the time of the incident.

19 March: SC dismisses Pawan’s curative plea.

19 March: After HC dismissal of plea, convict Mukesh moves SC claiming he was not in Delhi at time of crime in December 2012.

19 March: All four convicts approach Delhi court to stay the 20 March death warrant stating the pending decisions. Judge Dharmendra Rana reserves the order.

19 March: SC dismisses Mukesh’s petition.

19 March: SC dismisses Akshay’s plea challenging rejection of his second mercy plea.

19 March: No stay on execution of death warrants granted.

Also read: Days before hanging, 16 December rapists have ‘lost appetite, are watching Bollywood films’


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1 Comment Share Your Views


  1. India’s inability to execute justice for a horribly raped, tortured and murdered innocent young woman who showed so much promise, has made the country a laughing stock before the world. A country that is derided (by Indians as well) as the “rape capital of the world,” however prejudiced and unjustified this description might be, allowed a gaggle of publicity seeking lawyers and journalists who put personal and institutional (as in the ideology proffered by the media houses they worked for) politics ahead of seeking justice for a young victim in their zeal to keep human monsters alive on the Indian public’s meager dime. An untold amount of money was also wasted on these legal maneuvers thanks to a publicity-seeking lawyer whose Facebook page is even more active than any American ambulance-chasing attorney you can name. When India’s own image problem (yes, I agree that it is unjustified) causes so much grief, it is ridiculous how the Indian court system could allow itself to be gamed by a mob that has the prevention of justice for Nirbhaya as it’s chief aim. If people are judged by the company they keep (and Kabir Das said it beautifully in his doha “Jihi prasang doosan lagey, tajiye taako saath / Madira maanat hai jagat doodh kalarin haath”) then the Indian legal establishment didn’t exactly cover itself in glory in allowing supporters of a group of rapist-murderers to spit in the Indian public’s collective eye.


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