Nirbhaya convicts set for gallows as HC rejects plea

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New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) A Delhi court on Thursday observed that there is no “plausible reason” to suspend the execution of death sentence of the Nirbhaya rape case convicts and dismissed their application seeking a stay on their hanging.
The four convicts — Vinay, Mukesh, Akshay, and Pawan — will now be hanged by the noose on Friday, March 20 at 5:30 a.m. for brutally raping and murdering a 23-year-old physiotherapy student, later dubbed as ‘Nirbhaya’, on December 16, 2012.
Dismissing the plea filed by the convicts through advocate A.P. Singh, a division bench of Justices Manmohan and Sanjiv Narula said: “Writ petition bereft of merits, dismissed.”
During the course of hearing, Singh argued that the number of petitions have been filed by the convicts and are pending as of date.
He further submitted that if the death warrant is executed, the said proceedings including the divorce petition filed by the wife of Akshay, one of the four convicts, as well as the petition filed by another convict, Pawan Gupta before the National Human Right Commission and his criminal complaint will remain pending.
The advocate also argued that journalist Ajit Anjum had revealed that Nirbhaya’s friend, and the case’s star witness had taken a lot of money to frame the accused. He also cited a Tihar jail official’s book “Black Warrant” to claim there has been miscarriage of justice in regards to his clients.
Singh also argued that Pawan Gupta was a juvenile, citing the school leaving certificate.
Senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi Police, argued that the plea of juvenility has been rejected by the trial court, the HC and the SC.
Mehra also contends that the allegation of one of the appellants sustaining injury during his stay in the jail has been rejected by the SC by the order dated March 19, 2020.
He also contended that the statement of journalist or the former jail official cannot be considered in the present petition as firstly, no such foundation has been made in the petition.
Shams Khwaja, another counsel for the convicts, argued state that the President has acted with prejudice as he has publicly stated his sentiments on death row convicts of sexual assault.
While passing the order, the court observed that as far as plea of juvenility dismissed by the three convicts, it can’t be raised at this stage.