Nirbhaya haunts: Govt moves SC to hang convicts on death row in 7 days

The petition from the MHA comes in the wake of postponements in the hanging of four convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case

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Amid the delay in hanging Nirbhaya case convicts, the central government has demanded a seven-day deadline for the death sentence for the Supreme Court. The government wants the culprits sentenced to be hanged within seven days of rejection of the plea for clemency aka presidential pardon.

The petition from the home ministry comes in the wake of repeated postponements in the hanging of four convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya ‘gang-rape leading to murder’ case. The review, curative and mercy petitions have taken a long time to be disposed of.

The home ministry has appealed to the Supreme Court to fix a deadline for filing a curative petition after the review petition is dismissed. The government has said if the convict wants to file a mercy petition, there must be a compulsion to issue the death warrant by the competent court within seven days.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the Supreme Court to direct all courts, state governments, jail administration to issue a death warrant within seven days after the clemency plea is dismissed and thereafter the convict on death row be hanged within seven days, no matter at what stage his/her review petition, curative petition or mercy petition of his/her or fellow convicts’ are.

On 20 January, the Supreme Court dismissed the plea of ​​the Nirbhaya case convict challenging the Delhi High Court order claiming that he was a minor at the time of the offence. The court said that it cannot hang the case by filing a new petition.

On 15 January, the Delhi government and union government had said it was not possible to hang Nirbhaya’s rapists and killers at 7 AM on 22 January because of a mercy petition of one of the convicts pending hearing in the Delhi High Court. Given that the mercy petition of one of the convicts on death row, Mukesh Singh, is being heard, the Delhi government said in the court today there will be no hanging on 22 January.

A Delhi court thereafter issued a death warrant against the four convicts of the case, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Kumar Singh, Mukesh Kumar Singh and Pawan. Accordingly, they will be hanged on 1 February. His execution was postponed from January 22 and pending for February 1 due to pending petition.

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