A day after the Kejriwal-led government informed the Delhi High Court that the four convicts in the 2012 gangrape case cannot be executed on January 22 due to pending mercy plea, the BJP Thursday hit out at the AAP government accusing it of “negligence resulting in delay” in execution.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said the AAP government did not give notice to the convicts for nearly 2.5 years after their appeal against the death sentence was rejected by the Supreme Court in 2017. “AAP govt’s negligence is behind the delay in the hanging of December 16 gangrape convicts,” he said, news agency PTI reported.
The four men — Mukesh (31), Pawan Gupta (24), Vinay Sharma (25) and Akshay Kumar Singh (33) — were convicted and sentenced to death in September 2013. This was upheld by the High Court in March 2014 and by the Supreme Court in May 2017. The top court also dismissed their pleas seeking review of the confirmation order. They were scheduled to be hanged at Tihar Jail on January 22 at 7 am.
However, one of the convicts filed a mercy plea, which is pending before President Ram Nath Kovind for consideration and also approached the Delhi High Court for quashing of the death warrant.
Expressing displeasure over the manner in which the matter is being delayed since May 2017 on the pretext of filing appeals, review, curative and now mercy petitions before different courts and authorities at different stages by each of the convicts, the Delhi High Court refused to set aside the execution.
In another development, over 400 persons have endorsed a third party mercy petition seeking commutation of the death sentence, saying execution is not a “greater deterrent than life imprisonment.”
The 23-year-old paramedic student was gangraped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 inside a moving bus in south Delhi by six persons before being thrown out on the road. She died on December 29, 2012, at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.
In September 2013, a fast-track court held the four convicts guilty of 13 offences including gangrape, unnatural sexual assault and murder of the woman, and attempt to murder her male friend. A fifth accused, Ram, hanged himself in his cell in Tihar, while the sixth, who was a juvenile at the time of the crime, was sent to a reform facility.