NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Monday directed the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case to be hanged on March 3, but a cloud of suspense hangs over their execution as one of the condemned prisoners is yet to exhaust his legal remedies.
During the proceedings before the Delhi court which issued fresh death warrants in the case, the counsel for the convict, Pawan Gupta, said that he "intends to move a curative petition before the Supreme Court and mercy petition before the President".
Advocate Ravi Qazi, who was appointed by the court on Thursday to represent Pawan after being informed by Tihar jail authorities that the convict refused to choose a lawyer offered by Delhi Legal Services Authorities (DLSA), told Additional Session Judge Dharmender Rana, that he had a meeting with his client and he intends to file either a curative petition in the Supreme Court or the mercy plea with the president.
Pawan is the only one among the four convicts who has not yet filed the curative petition -- the last legal remedy available to a person, which is decided in-chamber.
He has not filed the mercy plea either.
As per a Supreme Court judgement of 2014, the 14-day time period has to be mandatorily given to the convict before execution from the time he is informed about the rejection of his mercy petition.
The court noted that Pawan was informed by February 5 Delhi High Court order, directing him to avail his legal remedies.
"However, Pawan or his family members have opted not to avail the legal remedies," the court noted while issuing the death warrants.
Advocate Jitender Jha, representing Nirbhaya's parents, told PTI that Pawan had no right to move any petition at this stage in pursuance of the recent Delhi High Court order granting convicts seven days time to seek legal remedies in the case.
"When HC had given seven days, he did not prefer to move the application. Now they have no right to move any application at this stage," he said.
Akshay's counsel A P Singh submitted that "in the earlier mercy petition due to poverty and ignorance the complete facts could not be brought before the President of India and thus convict Akshay has already prepared fresh complete mercy petition and it would be very soon moved before the President".
The court refused to entertain the plea, saying "mere preparation of a fresh mercy petition or in the words of court 'a complete mercy petition' cannot be a ground to defer the execution of the death warrants."