New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Wednesday rejected the central government’s plea seeking to execute the four convicts in the 16 December 2012 gang-rape and murder case separately. It also laid down a 7-day deadline for the convicts to exhaust all their legal remedies, including mercy plea.
The government had moved the petition as legal remedies being sought by two of the convicts to commute death penalty were delaying the execution of the others.
Justice Suresh Kait was urged in a special Sunday hearing by the home ministry that a lower court order staying the execution of the four until further orders should be set aside as the convicts were using the law to delay the death sentence.
On Wednesday, Kait said the high court would not interfere in the lower court order passed by Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana. “Upto the Supreme Court the fate of all the four has been decided by a single order. I am thus of the opinion that all their death warrants should be executed together,” he said.
The judge added that since the convicts have adopted delaying tactics, all four have to “exercise their legal remedies within 7 days, after which the court expects the authorities to act as per the law”.
Pointing towards the delay, Kait said he had no hesitation to hold that all the convicts waited, “for reasons best known to them”, to file their review petitions after more than 150 days.
“Akshay filed his review after delay of more than 900 days,” Kait said.
The Delhi High Court Sunday had reserved its verdict on the Centre’s plea challenging stay on the execution of the four death-row convicts. The moot question before the court was can the convicts be hanged separately though convicted in the same offence.
The centre had challenged a lower court order that had stayed the execution of the four convicts — Akshay Thakur, Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, and Vinay Sharma — on 1 February until further orders.
At present, Pawan is yet to file curative and mercy plea and a reply to Akshay’s mercy plea is awaited. Mukesh and Vinay have exhausted all legal options.
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