A Delhi court Monday issued a fresh death warrant for the four convicts in the December 16 Delhi gangrape and murder case for March 3 at 6 am. Additional Session Judge Dharmender Rana issued fresh warrants against four convicts — Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar (31).
The date of execution, first fixed for January 22, was postponed for 6 am on February 1 by a January 17 court order. The trial court later, on January 31, stayed the execution “till further orders”.
Asha Devi, mother of the victim said she is not “very happy as this is the third time that death warrant has been issued.” “We have struggled so much, so I am satisfied that the death warrant has been issued finally. I hope they will be executed on March 3,” ANI quoted her as saying. Meanwhile, families of the convicts protested against the decision to issue fresh death warrants.
Families of the 4 death row convicts in the December 2012 gangrape and murder case protest against the decision to issue fresh death warrants. “Stop handing out death sentence, stop politics,” they said. @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/6OAsdPIXQs
— Anand Mohan (@mohanreports) February 17, 2020
Earlier in the day, the court appointed advocate Ravi Qazi to represent Mukesh after he told the court he does not want to be represented by advocate Vrinda Grover. The court was also informed that another death row convict, Vinay Sharma, is on a hunger strike in Tihar jail. Vinay was assaulted in jail and has head injuries, his lawyer told the court, adding he was suffering from mental illness and hence the death sentence cannot be carried out. The court directed the Tihar jail superintendent to take appropriate care of Vinay in keeping with the law.
The Supreme Court last week dismissed Vinay’s petition challenging the rejection of his mercy plea by President Ram Nath Kovind.
The top court had also issued certain guidelines intended to speed up the hearing of death penalty appeals. According to this, a Special Leave Petition (SLP) against a HC order confirming death sentence will be listed before a three-judge bench “not later than six months…from the date of grant of leave, irrespective of the fact that the appeal is ready or not”.
On February 5, the High Court gave the convicts one week’s time to exhaust their legal remedies and also rejected the government’s prayer to allow them to be executed separately.
After the SC proceeding, the parents of the victim in the case and the Delhi government Tuesday approached a Delhi court, seeking issuance of fresh death warrants against the four death-row convicts. Tihar Jail authorities also filed a status report before the court, stating that no legal option was preferred by any of the convicts in last seven-day-period, granted by the High Court.
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