Convict Mukesh (31), on death row in the December 2012 gangrape-murder case, told a Delhi court that his execution warrant was not executable as his mercy plea was pending.
Appearing for Mukesh, Advocate Vrinda Grover said Tihar Jail authorities had not handed over some important documents required to file his mercy petition, and had to source them from the Supreme Court Registry. “My judicial remedies cannot be short-circuited. I desperately needed those documents and authorities refused to sign it,” Grover told the court.
Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora directed Tihar authorities to file a proper report by Friday about the status of the scheduled execution of convicts.
On Wednesday, the Delhi government informed the Delhi High Court that the four death row convicts will not be hanged, as their mercy petition is pending before the President. The four were to be hanged on January 22 at 7 am.
Grover told the court that as per law, jail authorities are bound to inform the state government about the pendency of mercy petition and seek instructions on execution of death warrant.
Grover told the court that Tihar Jail officials were not asking questions which the law requires them to ask: “Jail authorities have a statutory duty to ask about the execution of the warrant… even after rejection of mercy plea, there are rights that remain alive.”
Pointing out that the right to seek mercy is a Constitutional right, Grover said, “The applicant is entitled to a fair consideration of his mercy plea without the shadow of the noose hanging over him… There is no purpose in keeping the warrant alive as it is in defiance of law,” said Grover.
Addressing concerns of delay in the case, Grover argued that right after Mukesh’s curative petitions were dismissed, his mercy plea was addressed to the President and Lt Governor. “There are four convicts and I was asked to represent Mukesh only on December 18. Has there been any delay since then? I cannot undo the past,” she told the court.
Special Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan told the court that the jail superintendent is vested with the power to postpone the date of execution, while the additional public prosecutor argued that the convicts will not be hanged pending reply from the state government.
On January 7, a trial court issued death warrants for the execution of death sentence awarded to convicts Mukesh, Pawan Gupta (24), Vinay Sharma (25) and Akshay Kumar Singh (33).
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