Court issues notice to Tihar Jail on Nirbhaya case convicts' plea to stay execution

New Delhi, Jan 30 (PTI) A Delhi court on Thursday issued notice to Tihar Jail authorities seeking their response on a plea of death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case, seeking stay on their executions scheduled for February 1.

Special Judge A K Jain directed Tihar Jail Superintendent to file reply on their plea by 10 am on Friday.

Advocate A P Singh, representing three death row convicts -- Pawan Gupta, Vinay Kumar Sharma and Akshay Kumar -- urged the court to adjourn the executions 'sine die' as legal remedies of some of the convicts are yet to be availed.

He told the court that while Vinay's mercy petition is pending before the President, the other two convicts -- Akshay and Pawan -- are also currently pursuing legal remedies.

During the brief hearing, the prosecution said the application was a 'mockery of justice' and that it was only a delaying tactic.

The application moved by the defence counsel said, 'Previously after the rejection of the mercy petition of another convict Mukesh Kumar Singh this court was pleased to provide him 14-days period to approach the courts against the decision of the the President.

'In the case Vinay Sharma also faces rejection of the mercy petition, law allows 14-days period before the date of execution from the date of rejection of the mercy plea,' the advocate said, seeking a fresh date for the executions.

The advocate added that Akshay and Pawan are also currently pursuing legal remedies. While Akshay's curative petition was dismissed by the apex court on Thursday, he still has an option to file a mercy plea before the President.

The other convict, Pawan, has not filed the curative petition.

Akshay was the third convict to move the curative plea after Mukesh and Vinay.

The trial court on January 17 issued black warrants for the second time for the execution of all the four convicts in the case -- Mukesh (32), Pawan (25), Vinay (26) and Akshay (31) -- in Tihar jail at 6 am on February 1. Earlier, on January 7, the court had fixed January 22 as the hanging date.

As of now only Mukesh has exhausted all his legal remedies including the clemency plea which was dismissed by President Ram Nath Kovind on January 17 and the appeal against the rejection was thrown out by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Their victim, a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern who came to be known as 'Nirbhaya' (the fearless), was gang-raped and savagely assaulted on the night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in South Delhi. She died of her injuries a fortnight later in a Singapore hospital. PTI UK PKS SA