In a major setback that may delay the execution of the rapists of sensational 2012’s December 16 case, the Delhi government on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that execution of Nirbhaya convicts is not possible on January 22 as the mercy plea is pending with President Ram Nath Kovind. Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal were told by the Delhi government and the Centre that the petition filed by convict Mukesh, challenging his death warrant, was premature. The Delhi government and the prison authorities informed the court that under the rules, it will have to wait for the mercy plea to be decided before executing the death warrant.
They also said that none of the four convicts can be executed on January 22 unless the present mercy plea is decided. The Supreme Court had on Tuesday dismissed the curative pleas of Mukesh and Vinay. Advocate Rahul Mehra, Standing Counsel for Tihar Jail authorities said that, 'Execution of convicts (2012 Nirbhaya case) will surely not take place on January 22'. He further stated that fate of a death convict comes to finality only after his mercy plea is rejected by the President. Mehra further said that, 'It can only take place 14 days after the mercy plea is rejected as we are bound by the rule which says that a notice of 14 days must be provided to the convicts after the rejection of mercy plea.'
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court dismissed the curative petitions filed by two Nirbhaya convicts. Two convicts – Mukesh Singh and Vinay Kumar Sharma – had filed the curative pleas after a Delhi court issued death warrants against them. A curative petition is the last legal remedy available to a convict apart from mercy plea. A five-judge bench of Justices NV Ramana, Arun Mishra, RF Nariman, R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan was hearing the curative pleas.
Mukesh Singh, one of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case, filed a mercy plea before the President of India on Tuesday, prison officials said, shortly after the Supreme Court refused to stay his scheduled execution. Mukesh has also moved to Delhi High Court seeking stay on the death warrant issued by a trial court citing his pending mercy plea. The court is expected to hear the matter on Wednesday.
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