New Delhi: A Delhi court Friday stayed the execution warrant issued against all the four convicts of the 16 December gang-rape and murder case, and they will now not be hanged Saturday.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana ordered the stay on the execution order, issued on 17 January, stating: “Courts of this country cannot afford to adversely discriminate any convict including death row convict, in pursuit of his legal remedies, by turning a Nelson’s eye towards him.”
The four convicts are Vinay Sharma (26), Mukesh Kumar (32), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25).
All of them had approached the court where they argued that since Akshay is yet to file his mercy petition, Pawan is yet to file both his curative and mercy pleas and Vinay’s mercy plea is still awaiting the President’s reply, any execution taking place Saturday would be against the rules of the Delhi Jail Manual.
Rule 836 of the Delhi Prison Manual states, “If the sentence of death has been passed on more than one person in the same case, and if an appeal or an application is made by or on behalf of only one or more but not all of them, the execution of the sentence shall be postponed in the case of all such persons…”
The Tihar jail authorities argued that word “application” was used in the Delhi Prison Rules 836 and that applications do not mean petitions.
However, the Delhi court ruled: “Application is a generic term and includes petition also. Petition is in fact a formal written application.”
The court also categorically noted how Vinay’s mercy plea is pending with the President and how the Delhi Jail Manual prohibits any execution until the plea is answered.
“Seeking redressal of grievance through procedure established by law is hallmark for any civilised society,” the court noted, staying the black warrant.
Black warrant or death warrant proceedings take place after the person on death row has exhausted all legal remedies available to a convict, according to the law.
SC dismisses Pawan Gupta’s juvenile review plea
The top court dismissed the review plea. Now Pawan is left with the options of filing curative and mercy petitions.
On 20 January, the Supreme Court rejected a plea by Pawan, challenging the Delhi High Court’s order dismissing his claim to be a juvenile at the time of the crime.
As of now, only Mukesh has exhausted all his legal remedies, including the clemency plea, which was dismissed by President Ram Nath Kovind on 17 January and the appeal against the rejection was also dismissed by the Supreme Court on 29 January.
Convict Akshay’s curative petition was dismissed by the top court on 30 January and Vinay’s mercy plea, filed on 29 January, is pending.
A 23-year-old paramedic student was gang-raped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of 16-17 December 2012 in a moving bus in south Delhi by six men before she was thrown out on the road.
Of the six, accused Ram Singh allegedly committed suicide in Tihar jail in 2013 and the other accused, a juvenile, was convicted by the Juvenile Justice Board and released in 2017 from a reformation home after serving a three-year term.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.