Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 25
The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred to March 5 hearing on the Centre’s plea challenging the Delhi High Court’s verdict that said the four convicts in the Nirbhaya case can’t be executed separately.
The top court had made it clear on February 14 that pendency of the Centre’s appeal seeking separate execution of the four convicts would not come in the way of trial court fixing a fresh date for their hanging. Thereafter, the trial court scheduled their hanging for March 3.
“List the matters on March 5 at 3 pm,” the Bench said as the Centre’s appeal came up for hearing before a three-judge Bench headed by Justice R Banumathi.
The High Court on February 5 dismissed the Centre’s plea against the trial court’s order staying the execution of death sentence of the four convicts and questioned the authorities for not taking steps for issuance of death warrant after the rejection of their appeals by the Supreme Court in 2017.
The trial court on February 17 issued fresh date for execution of death warrants for March 3 at 6 am for the four convicts—Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar (31) — in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case.
The mercy petitions of three convicts—Mukesh, Vinay and Akshay—have already been dismissed by the President while the fourth convict – Pawan—has neither filed a curative petition in the top court nor a mercy petition before the President.
The top court had earlier dismissed pleas filed by Mukesh and Vinay challenging the rejection of their mercy petitions by the President. Akshay has not yet challenged the rejection of his mercy petition.
The 23-year-old paramedic student was brutally gang-raped on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012, inside a running bus in south Delhi by six men and severely assaulted before being thrown out on the road. She died on December 29, 2012, at a hospital in Singapore.
Six people, including the four convicts and a juvenile, were named as accused. Ram Singh, the sixth accused, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar jail days after the trial began in the case. The juvenile was released in 2015 after spending three years in a correctional home.
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