All the four convicts in the December 16, 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case will be hanged on January 22 at 7 a.m. inside the Tihar jail.
Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora issued the death warrants for convicts Mukesh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Singh and Pawan Gupta on a plea by the victim’s parents to expedite their execution.
Before passing the order, the judge conducted a video conference call with the convicts who are lodged in Tihar to hear their side of the argument.
The victim’s mother, who was present in the court when the verdict was pronounced, said the decision would restore faith of women in the judiciary.
Hours after the court’s decision, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “there is some sense of satisfaction after the issuance of death warrant against the convicts in the Nirbhaya case. It took seven year. This system will have to change. Such a system must be put in place which ensures that rapist are hanged within six months”.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) said the verdict would act as deterrent to crime against women.
The Congress welcomed the decision, saying that it would give peace to the victim’s family and the country.
The BJP said the decision would empower women and strengthen people’s faith in the judiciary.
On December 18 last, the Supreme Court dismissed a review petition filed by convict Akshay Kumar Singh against its 2017 judgment upholding his death penalty.
In July 2018, the top court dismissed the review petitions of Mukesh (30), Gupta (23) and Sharma (24), saying no grounds have been made by them for a review of the 2017 verdict.
A juvenile convict in the case has been released from a reformation home after serving a three-year term. One of the accused in the case, Ram Singh, died in the Tihar Jail.
The convicts can still move a curative petition before the top court against their conviction and death penalty. Once the curative petition, the last judicial resort available for redressal of grievances in a court of law, is dismissed, the convicts can seek a pardon from the President.
Article 72 of the Constitution says the President has the power “to grant pardons, etc, and to suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases”.
During the Tuesday hearing, advocate Vrinda Grover, who was appointed as amicus curiae to assist the court in the case, said both Mukesh and Vinay wanted to file a curative petition before the top court. She sought time to get required documents for the curative plea.
Advocate Grover pointed out that the convicts were not informed by the jail authorities that they still have the remedy of curative petitions at the top court against the death penalty.
The prosecution counsel, on the other hand, argued that there has been delay in the execution of the death warrant. Counsel said that even after the death warrant was issued, the convicts could exercise their remaining legal remedies.
After the court reserved its order around 3 p.m., the mother of convict Mukesh came crying towards the court room urging the judge to show mercy. The court, however, declined to entertain her.