NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Thursday sought by tomorrow the response of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case on the plea of Tihar jail authorities seeking issuance of fresh death warrants against them.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana directed the convicts to file their response by Friday on the application moved by Tihar Jail authorities. The trial court had on January 31 stayed "till further orders" execution of the four convicts in the case -- Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar (31), who are lodged in Tihar Jail.
In its application, the states said the President has already dismissed the mercy petitions of three convicts and that no application by any of the four is currently pending before any court. Pawan has not yet filed a curative petition -- the last and final legal remedy available to a person which is decided in-chamber. Pawan also has the option of filing a mercy plea.
The authorities also informed the court about Delhi High Court's February 5 order which directed the convicts to take steps within a week, if they wished, to avail any remedy available under the law.
"It is, therefore, most respectfully prayed that, keeping in view a week's time given to the convicts by high court, the fresh dates for execution of death warrants may kindly be fixed specifying the date and time for execution/ hanging of convicts Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, Mukesh and Akshay in the interest of justice," the application said.
The warrants, issued by the trial court on January 7, was later postponed "sine die" by it on January 31, giving the condemned prisoners a reprieve for the second time in two weeks. The date of execution, first fixed for January 22 in Tihar jail, was later postponed for 6 am on February 1 by a January 17 court order.
The 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who came to be known as 'Nirbhaya' (fearless), was gang-raped and savagely assaulted on the night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in South Delhi. She died of her injuries a fortnight later in a Singapore hospital.
Six people including the four convicts, Ram Singh and a juvenile -- were named as accused. The trial of the five adult men began in a special fast-track court in March 2013. Ram Singh, the prime accused, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself in Tihar jail days after the trial began.
The juvenile, who was said to be the most brutal of the attackers, was put in a correctional home for three years. The juvenile was released in 2015 and sent to an undisclosed location amid concerns over a threat to his life. He, when released, was 20 years old. Mukesh, Vinay, Akshay and Pawan were sentenced to death in September 2013 by the trial court.