Four convicts in Nirbhaya case to be hanged on March 20

Four convicts in Nirbhaya case to be hanged on March 20

All the four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case are likely to be executed on Friday at 5.30 am, as the Supreme Court and the trial rejected their last-minute plea against their sentence, ending their bid to stave off the final fate.

The long wait for justice for the victims' family would finally end on Friday. The trial court has thrice re-scheduled the date of execution of Mukesh (32) Vinay Sharma (26), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) in the case of gang rape and murder of 23-year-old paramedic student in a moving bus here on December 15-16, 2012.

On Thursday, a six-judge bench presided over by Justice N V Ramana in chamber dismissed a curative petition filed by convict Pawan K Gupta claiming that he was a juvenile at the time of offence.

READ: Tihar gets ready to execute Nirbhaya case convicts

On the day, another bench of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna rejected fresh writ petitions filed by Mukesh Singh and Akshay Singh.

Mukesh claimed certain documents showing his presence elsewhere at the time of offence were concealed. The court, however, told his counsel M L Sharma that all his remedies review, curative and mercy petitions stood dismissed. It questioned him for contending that some documents were not produced.

Akshay, for his part, questioned rejection of his mercy petition by President Ram Nath Kovind. His counsel A P Sibgh said complete mercy petition was filed only on Wednesday but he learnt of his rejection in media. He said every pillar of democracy was under pressure. The counsel said issue of solitary confinement, torture in prison.

The court, however, said there was a limited scope of review with regard to rejection of mercy petition. It also pointed out his mercy petition was already rejected in February.

"We don't find any ground to interfere into the matter," the bench said.

On Thursday afternoon, Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana dismissed an application filed by Vinay, Pawan and Akshay on the ground of pendency of proceedings against them.

By the evening, the death row convicts again approached the Delhi High Court for stay of the execution. A division bench of Justices Manmohan and Sanjeev Narula, however, declined to consider it saying this court cannot overrule the top court.

"The time is close for your client to meet the God, the bench told advocate A P Singh, who wanted two and three days time to file further documents. The HC said you cannot play with the law at the eleventh hour. 

Tihar jail authorities, for their part, made all the arrangement for carrying out hanging, as it was for the first time that four convicts were to be sentenced at the same time. Last time, Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru was hanged in 2013 in Tihar jail. A hangman from Meerut, Pawan Jallad has been specially called by the jail authorities. He has already carried the dummy exercise inside the prison.

As per the Delhi Jail Manuals, medical examination of the convicts would be undertaken before their execution.

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