Delhi: the hanging of four convicts of Nirbhaya is entangled in a procedural maze

NEW DELHI: Almost three years after the Supreme Court sent the gallows, the rope seems to have become entangled in a procedural maze with lawyers who file one petition after another in several courts since a Delhi trial court set up on January 22 As the date for convicts. '.

On Thursday, a bank of Judges R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna found themselves dealing with two petitions related to the case. One was presented by the Union government in search of the separate suspension of the four convicts: Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Akshay Thakur, when the President dismissed his requests for mercy. The other was a request from Sharma challenging the president's rejection of his mercy request.

The SC reserved its verdict on Sharma's request and said he would make a judgment on Friday, when he will also listen to the lawyer of the four sentenced to death by the Center's request that his hangings be separated. Therefore, nobody knows when the death row inmates will be considered to have exhausted their legal remedies and a decision was reached on the date they will be hanged.

After the SC rejected the review and the curative petitions of the four convicted, Gupta had filed a statement in the Delhi high court alleging that he was a minor at the time of the crime on December 16, 2012. The higher court dismissed his statement. His appeal was also rejected by the Supreme Court. The mercy petitions of three others, Singh, Sharma and Thakur, who invoked the president's mercy powers to commute the death penalty to life imprisonment, have also been rejected.

The Center is challenging a Delhi HC order dated February 5 that rejects the request that the damned be hanged separately by untying those who have already exhausted all their resources from those who have not done so. The HC had set a deadline of 7 days for the convicted to exhaust all options.

The bank will hear this request on Friday and appointed lead attorney Anjana Prakash Sharma as a friend of Gupta, who was not represented. “Otherwise, tomorrow they will come and look for a postponement saying that they are not represented. That seems to be the tactic, ”said the bank.

The SC is aware of the delaying tactics, but can do little more than listen to the petitions presented through the defenders A P Singh and Vrinda Grover, since these were within the rights of the convicts. Once the seven-day period granted by the HC ended, Sharma filed a petition in the SC challenging the rejection of his declaration of clemency by the President.

Among many reasons, his lawyer said that the convict suffered a mental illness and, therefore, was not fit for execution, suffered constant physical torture in prison, there was a complete lack of application of the mind to various factors by The governments of the Union and Delhi in recommending the president to reject his request for mercy and for the President to adopt a policy of choosing and electing to reject his request when many of those requests were pending with him.

Sharma's lawyer continued to repeat his arguments for two hours, leaving Judges Banumathi, Bhushan and Bopanna on the verge of exasperation. Attorney General Tushar Mehta took only 15 minutes to show the archives of the Ministry of Interior of the Union and the government of Delhi to indicate that each and every one of the aspects and facts narrated in the mercy petition were carefully examined and considered, including Family history and the economic situation of Sharma.

He said that the interior minister of the Union recommended the rejection of the petition for mercy by saying that the case was in the rarest category of the rare and that the crime was a cowardly and unforgivable act that shocked the conscience of the nation.

(The identity of the victim has not been revealed to protect their privacy according to the directives of the Supreme Court on cases related to sexual assault)