NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Wednesday directed Tihar jail authorities to seek response within a week from four death row convicts in the sensational 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape-cum-murder case as to whether they are filing mercy pleas against their executions with the President of India.
The development assumes significance as the Supreme Court today dismissed the plea of Akshay Kumar Singh, one of the four convicts, saying review petition is not "re-hearing of appeal over and over again" and it had already considered the mitigating and aggravating circumstances while upholding the death penalty.
The 23-year-old paramedic student was gang-raped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 inside a moving bus in south Delhi by six persons before being thrown out on the road. She died on December 29, 2012 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.
Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora commenced the hearing on Delhi government's plea seeking issuance of death warrants for executing the convicts just after the apex court verdict and said that it will wait for the copy of the judgement. The court then adjourned the hearing for January 7, 2020.
As the hearing commenced, the court was informed about the apex court's decision dismissing review plea of Akshay. However, the court said, "Let order of Supreme Court be officially communicated".
The lawyer appearing for Nirbhaya's mother said that there was no impediment in issuing death warrants in the case. Consoling Nirbhaya's crying mother, the judge said, "I have full sympathy with you. I know someone has died but there are their rights too. We are here to listen to you but are also bound by the law".
The court made the observations after Nirbhaya's mother started crying before the court saying "everywhere we go they (the convicts) say they have legal remedies. What do we have?."
On July 9 last year, the apex court had dismissed the review pleas filed by the other three convicts -- Mukesh (30), Pawan Gupta (23) and Vinay Sharma (24) -- in the case, saying no grounds have been made out by them for review of the 2017 verdict.
One of the six accused in the case, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in the Tihar Jail here. A juvenile, who was among the accused, was convicted by a juvenile justice board and was released from a reformation home after serving a three-year term.
The top court in its 2017 verdict had upheld the capital punishment awarded to them by the Delhi High Court and the trial court in the case.