Nirbhaya case: Convicts move court for stay on execution, SC rejects third curative plea

New Delhi, Jan 30 (PTI) Death-row convicts in the Nirbhaya case on Thursday took another step, which may delay their scheduled February 1 hanging, by moving a trial court with a plea to adjourn the execution 'sine die' saying they are yet to avail their remaining legal remedies even as the Supreme Court dismissed the third curative petition.

Of the four convicts, Mukesh Kumar Singh 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 apex court on Wednesday.

Convict Vinay Kumar Sharma had yesterday filed a mercy plea before the President and the apex court today rejected the curative petition of Akshay Kumar Singh, who is likely to file a clemency plea soon.

Pawan Gupta is yet to file a curative petition in the top court.

The day witnessed fast-paced development with the counsel for Vinay, Akshay and Pawan rushing to a trial court seeking stay on their executions saying legal remedies of some of them are yet to be availed.

While Special Judge A K Jain posted the matter for hearing in the post-lunch session, a five-judge bench of the apex court in the afternoon rejected the curative plea of Akshay saying 'no case is made out' and also declined to stay his execution.

Hours after the apex court development, the trial judge issued notice to Tihar jail authorities seeking their response on the plea by three convicts, which the prosecution said was a 'mockery of justice' and was only a 'delaying tactic'.

While all eyes would be in the trial court on Friday when the matter would be taken up for hearing at 10 AM, the reports have already appeared that Pawan Jallad, a hangman from Meerut Prison has reached Tihar Jail two days ahead of the scheduled execution.

According to Delhi Prison Rules, none of the four convicts in the same case can be hanged before the last one has exhausted all legal options including the mercy plea. The apex court guidelines also stipulate that convicts cannot be hanged until 14 days after their mercy plea has been rejected by the President.

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

The court had earlier on January 7 fixed January 22 as the hanging date.

The 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who came to be known as 'Nirbhaya', the fearless one, 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.

One of the six accused in the case, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail in 2013.

A juvenile, who was among the accused, was convicted by a juvenile justice board and was released from a reformation home after serving a three-year term. PTI UK PKS ABA MNL SJK RKS SA