The Delhi High Court Sunday reserved its order on a plea filed by the Centre against the stay in execution of December 16, 2012 gangrape-murder convicts. On Friday, a trial court had postponed the execution of death warrants issued 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 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.
Mehta told the Delhi High Court 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.
Senior advocate Rebecca M John, appearing for convict Mukesh, argued that the Centre should have approached the Supreme Court against the trial court order, saying that the authority to approach for execution is GNCTD and not the UOI. “You may hang me. But no one has the right to condemn me for working within legal framework,” she said.
“If sentence is common for four convicts, then execution has to be common,” she told the High Court.
Mehta told Justice Suresh Kait that convict Pawan Gupta’s move of not filing a curative or mercy petition was deliberate, calculated inaction. “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”.
Appearing for the convicts, counsel AP Singh argued that they belong to poor, rural and Dalit families and can’t be made to bear the brunt of ambiguity in the law.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had on Saturday argued that “this case will go down in the history of India where convicts of heinous crime are trying the patience of the country”.
On Friday, a day ahead of the scheduled hanging of the four convicts, a Delhi court deferred their execution till further orders, saying the country cannot afford to discriminate against a death row convict in pursuit of legal remedies.
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