Nirbhaya case: Delhi HC reserves judgement on Centre’s plea against stay of execution

A view of the Delhi High Court in New Delhi. File

A view of the Delhi High Court in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Delhi High Court is hearing the Centre’s plea challenging stay on the execution of four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case

The Centre on Sunday sought to remove the stay on the execution of the four convicts in the December 16, 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case, asserting that the credibility of the judiciary and its ability to execute death sentences were at stake.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Home Ministry, argued that the convicts were moving the court one after another with one of them, Pawan Kumar Gupta, yet to file his curative petition.

Mr. Mehta argued there was “a deliberate, calculated, well-thought-out design to frustrate the mandate of the law”. 

Senior advocate Rebecca John, appearing for convict Mukesh Kumar Singh, however, objected to the Centre’s plea. “As of today, there is no definitive law which permits what the Centre is seeking ... singling out execution,” she said.

Ms. John questioned why the Centre has woken up just yesterday to execute the death warrant when they were never a party in the proceedings before the trial court. “Union of India has superimposed themselves in this proceeding for the first time. Why have they done so, the court needs to examine,” she argued.

She pointed out that the Centre has already approached the Supreme Court for a clarification on the law which dealt with executing co-convicts separately.

Justice Suresh Kait reserved the order on the plea by the Centre and Delhi government.


In its plea, the government has argued that, “The acts of the four convicts clearly shows their intention to delay the process of execution of death sentences, which is not only an abuse of process of law but also mockery of the courts and judicial process.”

It also termed as erroneous, the decision of the Delhi Court staying the execution of the convicts until further orders.

However, Ms John argued that “the execution cannot be bifurcated the way the government wants the court to do”. She also urged the court to be cautions and not hasten on a punishment which is “irreversible”.

“What is the hurry, if you wait another one month. What is going to happen...My remedies could still be linked to the outcome of the co-convicts...All I am asking for is ‘common sentence, common execution’,” she argued.

On December 16, 2012, a paramedical student was gang raped and brutally assaulted by six men in a private bus and thrown out of the moving vehicle along with her male friend. The victims later succumbed to injuries.


All convicts Mukesh Kumar, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Akshay Singh – have been sentenced to death. The order has been upheld by the high court and the Supreme Court.

Except Pawan all convicts have exhausted their legal remedy available to file a curative petition before the Supreme Court. The President has already rejected the mercy pleas of convicts Mukesh and Vinay.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 11:47:21 AM |

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