A death warrant has been issued for the capital punishment of all the four convicts of Nirbhaya. The Patiala House Court of Delhi today issued a death warrant after a long hearing. The four convicts will be hanged in Tihar jail at 7 AM on 22 January, 15 days from now.
The norm is to give 14 days time is given after the death warrant. This is the time required for the jail administration to complete its preparations for the execution(s).
In the previous hearing, the court had asked the Tihar Jail administration to issue this notice to the culprits.
Convict Akshay had sought permission to speak to the judge today at the court. The judge then asked the media to leave the room as the convict wanted to say something to the judge in private. Akshay spoke before the judge and said that he never tried to delay the legal process and only defended himself in a legal manner.
The judge arrived for the video conferencing room around 3:30 PM. The lawyer reached the room. There was some difficulty in hearing due to a problem in the internet connection but after some time, the hearing started.
Earlier, during the hearing, there were heated arguments between the counsel for the culprits and the counsel for Nirbhaya’s mother. The court in Delhi heard the petition of Nirbhaya’s mother where she demanded that the culprits be hanged soon. Her lawyer said in court that the convicts wanted to buy time whereas the counsel for the convicts said that their clients wanted to file a curative petition.
At the court, the counsel for the convicts argued that they had not been able to meet their clients. He claimed that his clients had been tortured in jail.
The convicts had filed a fresh petition in the court, pleading that they wanted to file a curative petition. Advocate ML Sharma, appearing for convict Mukesh, said that his client wanted to file a curative petition in the Supreme Court. This is mentioned in the report of the Tihar Jail authority.
During the court hearing, Nirbhaya’s family demanded from the court that a death warrant be issued against all the four convicts at the earliest. Their lawyer told the court that even after the death warrant, the culprits would have opportunities. No plea of the culprits is pending anywhere. Therefore, the court can issue a death warrant, he submitted.
The government lawyer argued that legal experts were against the petition. He said that the guilty were trying to postpone the inevitable.
Earlier, the court had given time till 7 January to the culprits to complete all the legal proceedings. Simultaneously, Tihar Jail issued a notice to the four convicts, asking whether they would file a mercy petition. The Supreme Court had by then dismissed the review petition of convict Akshay Kumar Singh/Thakur.
Three of the four convicts had asked for curative and mercy petitions to avoid hanging after receiving the Tihar Jail administration’s notice. The convicts said that according to the constitution, they had legal avenues left and that they would like to use the curative and mercy petition right away.
The Supreme Court had already dismissed the review petitions of the four convicts (Pawan, Vinay, Mukesh and Akshay) in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case.
A trial court had on 11 September 2013 sentenced the four to death and referred the case to the Delhi High Court to confirm the conviction. The four were convicted by the fast-track court in Saket for gang rape and murder. The four were sentenced to death for murder.
On 13 March 2014, the high court dismissed the appeals of the four convicts Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh. Thereafter, an appeal was made in the Supreme Court and the convicts’ appeal was dismissed there too.