Nirbhaya convicts to be hanged on March 3 at 6 am

Nirbhaya convicts to be hanged on March 3 at 6 am

A Delhi court on Monday issued a fresh date of March 3 for execution of death warrants of the four convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case, saying “deferring it any further now would be sacrilegious the rights of the victim for expeditious justice.”

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana fixed March 3 at 6 am for hanging of convicts Mukesh, Akshya, Pawan and Vinay, after noting the death warrants in the case issued on January 4 has twice been deferred from January 22 and February 1. The four convicts, except Vinay, had failed to take any legal recourse within one week time granted by the Delhi High Court on February 5.

“There cannot be any quarrel with the proposition that protection under Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution is available to the convicts till last breath. However, Article 21 merely guarantees an opportunity to the condemned convicts to exercise their legal rights. Whether to utilise it or not is a matter of choice for the condemned convicts,” the court said.

The court passed its order as prosecution contended the convicts had failed to take any legal remedy in term of one week time granted by the Delhi High Court on February 5 and there was no impediment to fix fresh date of execution.

Advocate A P Singh, representing Vinay, submitted that he was suffering from mental illness and a report may be called from the Tihar jail authorities here. He also submitted Akshay whose mercy plea was dismissed wanted to file a fresh plea for clemency. The court, however, the contention of mental illness had already been rejected by the apex court. With regard to Akshay's contention, the court said mere preparation of complete mercy petition was no ground to defer the execution of death warrants.

Advocate Ravi Qazi, acting as legal aid counsel for Pawan, submitted that he wanted to file a curative petition in the Supreme Court and a mercy plea with the President. The court, however, rejected it, saying he failed to take requisite action in terms of the HC's order and he could not be "permitted to defeat the ends of justice by simply opting to remain indolent".