December 12 gangrape case convicts to hang on March 3

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On February 5, the High Court gave the convicts one week’s time to exhaust their legal remedies

A Delhi court Monday fixed the date of execution of the convicts of December 12 Delhi gangrape case to March 3 at 6 am. Additional Session Judge Dharmender Rana had earlier in the day reserved the order during which Mukesh Kumar Singh, one of the four death row convicts in the case, told the court he does not want to be represented by advocate Vrinda Grover. The court then appointed advocate Ravi Qazi to represent Mukesh.

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.