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Dec 16 gangrape case: Centre moves SC hours after HC order over execution of convicts

Earlier in the day, the High Court asked the convicts to exhaust all their legal remedies available in one week, failing which the authorities can take further steps.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: February 5, 2020 5:06:10 pm
The High Court had said the death warrant be commuted together, as the convicts of the same crime cannot be hanged separately.

The Centre and the Delhi government Wednesday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court’s order rejecting the government’s plea against staying the execution of the four December 16 gangrape-murder case convicts.

Earlier in the day, the High Court had dismissed the Centre’s plea against a trial court’s decision to postpone the execution of the four convicts. The court asked the convicts to exhaust all their legal remedies available in one week, failing which the authorities can take further steps.

The High Court had said the death warrant be commuted together, as the convicts of the same crime cannot be hanged separately.

Justice Suresh Kumar Kait said: “It cannot be disputed that the crime was horrible, ghastly, coupled with bone-chilling effect and had shaken the conscience of the nation.”

The court also expressed displeasure over the government and other authorities failing to take steps since May 2017, when the Supreme Court had upheld the death sentences. “All authorities were waiting and sleeping since May 2017,” the bench said.

Meanwhile, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad assured Lok Sabha that the convicts will be hanged soon. “We are very strict…justice will be given to her. Convicts will be hanged soon,” Prasad said in Parliament Wednesday.

Last week Friday, a trial court had postponed the execution of the death warrants against the four convicts, saying the country cannot afford to discriminate against a death row convict in pursuit of legal remedies.

Appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had told Justice Suresh Kait that there was a deliberate, calculated and well-thought-of design by the death row convicts to “frustrate mandate of law” by getting their execution delayed.

“Not hanging the convicts will send a wrong message to the society at large,” the SG further said, adding that “the execution of its executive power is at stake”.

He also cited last year’s alleged police “encounter” in Hyderabad and said the public celebration of the killing of all four accused in the rape-murder case was indicative of “depreciation in the country’s judicial system”. All four accused in the rape and murder of a Hyderabad veterinarian were shot dead by the Telangana Police in December last year when they were taken to the site to recreate the crime scene.

Arguing that the Centre should have approached the Supreme Court against the trial court order, Senior advocate Rebecca M John, appearing for convict Mukesh, had said the authority to approach for execution is Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) and not the Union Of India. “You may hang me. But no one has the right to condemn me for working within the legal framework,” she said.

On December 16, 2012, a 23-year-old woman was gangraped and assaulted inside a moving bus in south Delhi by six persons, before being thrown out on the road. She died on December 29, 2012, at a hospital in Singapore.

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