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SC to step in if Nirbhaya convicts are not hanged on March 20

Nearing justice:Asha Devi, mother of the victim, coming out after the hearing on Thursday.Bibek ChettriBibek Chettri

Nearing justice:Asha Devi, mother of the victim, coming out after the hearing on Thursday.Bibek ChettriBibek Chettri  

It will decide govt. appeal for nod to hang them separately

The Supreme Court on Thursday made it clear that any delay in the execution of the death sentence of the four Nirbhaya gang-rape case convicts on March 20 will see the court itself step in on March 23 to decide the government’s appeal for permission to separately hang them.

The assurance from a three-judge Bench, led by Justice R. Banumathi, came while it was addressing the government’s apprehension that chances were high that one or other of the convicts might turn up in court before March 20 with a new plea and further delay the execution.

“I am no astrologer... but they [the convicts] will find something to delay the execution... I am not in a hurry to execute them, but the system is suffering when the punishment keeps getting postponed. The convicts have been taking the system for a ride... Even now, it has been over two years since their review petitions were dismissed by the Supreme Court,” Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta submitted.

Justice Banumathi turned to the convicts’ lawyers to come prepared on March 23 as the court would not entertain any request for adjournment. It would examine the government’s appeal to hang them separately even if it involves an “extended hearing”, on March 23, she said.

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