Convicts can be hanged separately: S-G to HC in Nirbhaya case

New Delhi, Feb 1: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on Saturday informed the Delhi High Court that the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case “can be hanged separately”.

Mehta while arguing before Justice Suresh Kumar Kait said, “Once a person is aware that his fate is the death penalty, any delay in execution is dehumanising. They should be executed immediately. Mukesh has no reason to wait for his execution. Pawan has chosen to not file curative or mercy plea.”

“They are not only abusing the process of law, but they are also creating circumstances that will water down the guidelines,” Mehta added.

The court asked whether all of them would be executed together or one by one. Responding to the same, Mehta said they would be executed one by one.

“The execution should be one by one. The rule only says if the application of one is pending then execution of all has to be postponed.. but what does ‘application’ mean? It means an application pending before a court. A mercy plea is not an application,” Mehta submitted.

Mehta also submitted that the trial court ignored rule 834 of Prison Rules while passing Friday’s order.

“All these accused are ironically urging the court to understand the value of a human life forgetting that the victim also had a life. The lordships are aware of what happened. This is one case that has shaken the conscience of the society,” he added.

A Delhi court had on Friday stayed for an indefinite period, the death warrants issued against the four death row convicts – Akshay, Pawan, Mukesh and Vinay.

Additional Sessions Judge Darmendra Rana in his order said, “Without commenting upon the dilatory tactics adopted by the convicts, suffice it would be to state that seeking redressal of one’s grievances through the procedure established by law was the hallmark of any civilised society. The courts of this country cannot afford to adversely discriminate any convict, including death row convicts in pursuit of his legal remedies, by turning Nelson’s eye towards him.”

The 23-year-old victim was brutally gang-raped and tortured on December 16, 2012, which later led to her death. All the six accused were arrested and charged with sexual assault and murder. One of the accused was a minor and appeared before a juvenile justice court, while another accused committed suicide in Tihar Jail.

Four of the convicts were sentenced to death by a trial court in September 2013, and the verdict was confirmed by the Delhi High Court in March 2014 and upheld by the Supreme Court in May 2017 which also dismissed their review petition in July 2018.

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