NEW DELHI: "You are playing with fire. You should be conscious," the court told the lawyer representing the convicts in Nirbhaya rape and murder case on Monday.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana made the observations while noting that there was a "delay in filing curative and mercy petition by the death-row convicts."
"You are playing with fire. You should be conscious. One wrong move by anybody, and you know the consequences," the court rapped advocate A.P Singh.
The convicts were scheduled to be hanged tomorrow, but the court on Monday deferred their execution indefinitely.
"Despite stiff resistance from the victim's side, I am of the opinion that any condemned convict must not meet his creator with a grievance in his bosom that the courts of this country have not acted fairly in grating him an opportunity to exhaust his legal remedies," Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana said.
"I am of the opinion that the death sentence cannot be executed pending the disposal of the mercy petition of the convict," the judge said.
"It is hereby directed that the execution of death warrants against all the convicts scheduled for March 3 is deferred till further order," he added.
Earlier today, convict Pawan Gupta had sought stay on the grounds that his mercy petition is pending before the President of India. Another convict, Akshay, also filed a fresh mercy petition contending that the previous one was "incomplete".
During the hearing on the application today, the court was apprised that the jail authorities are aware of the convict's mercy petition.
"This game of hide-and-seek needs to be handled with a hard hand. This application is not maintainable," public prosecutor Irfan Ahemed said.
The case pertains to the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old girl, called later as Nirbhaya, in the national capital in December 2012. Six people, including the four convicts and a juvenile, were named as accused.
Ram Singh, the sixth accused, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar jail days after the trial began in the case. The juvenile was released in 2015 after spending three years in a correctional home.