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Wednesday 22 January 2020

Tihar Jail has no executioner: Breather for Nirbhaya’s killers

But the Delhi government has rejected convict Vinay Sharma's mercy petition, and bringing an executioner to Tihar to hang all the four convicts is now just a matter of time

After the monstrosity perpetrated upon the woman veterinarian in Hyderabad, the wounds of the Nirbhaya gang rape are festering once again. Seven years have passed since the incident that shook the entire nation, but the accused who have been convicted and sentenced to death by the lower court up to the Supreme Court, have not been executed till now. Because Tihar Jail, where the convicts are lodged, has no executioner!

Tihar, one of the largest jails in Asia, does not have an executioner. The issue of hanging the convicts will hang for a while because the jail administration says when a convict is sentenced to death, jails that have empanelled executioners are contacted. According to the Tihar Jail administration, the executioner is brought for one day. After executing the convict(s), the executioner returns to the prison where he is posted.

Nirbhaya’s family, meanwhile, is running from pillar to post to ensure the death sentence awarded to the convicts is executed.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has demanded that the accused be punished soon, amid the public outcry following the Hyderabad incident. As the protocol of hanging a convict involves considering the view of the administration of the State where the convict lives, the Delhi government recommended to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal that convict Vinay Sharma not be shown any mercy, which the L-G approved. “Today, we have received the LG’s approval to reject the mercy petition (of Vinay Sharma) and today we will send our recommendations to the President,” the chief minister had earlier said in the Delhi Assembly.

Kejriwal has clarified that the Delhi government is not in favour of waiving the death sentence of the convict for committing such heinous crime. The chief minister advocated the severe punishment for the culprits as ordered by the Supreme Court.

Tihar, during their trial
During their trial

The mercy petition, after its rejection by L-G Baijal, will now reach the Home Ministry of the Union government. Finally, the mercy petition will be sent to the president. If President Ram Nath Kovind rejects the clemency petition, then the jail administration will approach the court that will, in turn, issue a death warrant, also known as the black warrant.

Once the court issues the death warrant, it clears the deck for the hanging of the culprits. Vinay Sharma is the only one of the four convicts sentenced to death who has filed a mercy petition.

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