Nirbhaya case: Convicts’ hanging on March 3 put off

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New Delhi, March 2 (IANS) A court here on Monday again deferred the execution of the four convicts in Nirbhaya rape and murder case, slated for Tuesday, till further orders.
“Despite a 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 granting 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.
“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.
The four convicts — Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Kumar Sharma and Akshay Kumar — are scheduled to be hanged at 6 a.m. on March 3.
Gupta had sought a stay on the grounds that his mercy petition is pending before the President.
Pawan, the last of the four convicts to seek legal remedy or file a mercy petition, had moved a fresh application seeking a stay on the hanging as his mercy plea is pending before the President after the court dismissed their application seeking stay on hanging earlier on Monday.
He filed the mercy petition after his curative petition was rejected by the Supreme Court on Monday morning.
During the hearing on the application on Monday, the court was apprised that the jail authorities are aware of the convict’s mercy petition.
“This game of hide and seek needs to handled with a hard hand. This application is not maintaible,” Public Prosecutor Irfan Ahmed said.
The case pertains to the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old girl, dubbed 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.