Nirbhaya convict's plea against death warrant dismissed

HC dismisses Nirbhaya convict's plea challenging death warrant, gives liberty to move sessions court

The Delhi government told the court that execution of convicts would not take place on January 22 as a mercy plea has been filed by one of them

The Delhi government informed the high court during the hearing that execution of convicts will not take place on January 22 as a mercy plea has been filed by one of them.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea by one of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case against the death warrant but allowed Mukesh Kumar Singh to approach the trial court again.

During the hearing, the Delhi government said their hanging can't take place as per the Prison Rules if the mercy petition was pending. A bench of Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal found no error in the January 7 order, issuing the warrant.

The Delhi government, for its part, told the court that execution of convicts would not take place on January 22 as a mercy plea has been filed by one of them.

The court expressed its displeasure after having noted the convicts were “exploiting” the system, which may lead to people losing confidence in the system.

The four convicts -- Mukesh (32) Vinay Sharma (26), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) -- were to be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar jail.

Counsel for Mukesh said they would move sessions court against the death warrant after the high court said it was not inclined to interfere in the matter and that the petitioner should have moved the sessions court or the Supreme Court.

After the dismissal of his curative petition by the top court on Tuesday, Mukesh approached the high court appealing for a stay on the death warrant until disposal of mercy petition.

The Delhi government and the Centre said that the petition filed by Mukesh, challenging his death warrant, was premature.

The Delhi government and the prison authorities said that under the rules, they 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 was decided. In response to the submission by prison authorities, the court said: "put your house in order".

"Your house is in disarray. The problem is people will lose confidence in the system. Things are not moving in the right direction. The system is capable of being exploited and we see a stratagem to exploit the system, which is oblivious about it," the court said.

To this, the bench said, "Then your rule is bad if you cannot take action till all the co-convicts have moved mercy plea. There has been no application of mind. The system is suffering from cancer."

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