A Delhi court on Monday stayed the execution of four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case and deferred the matter till further orders.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana had earlier today reserved the order on a petition filed by Pawan Gupta after hearing arguments from all the sides in the matter. The execution of convicts -- Vinay Sharma, Akshay Singh Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh -- was earlier scheduled to take place on the morning of March 3.
During the hearing, advocate AP Singh said that he filed the mercy petition before the President of India on behalf of convict Pawan Gupta as soon as he received the information that the convict's curative petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court earlier today.
Public prosecutor Irfan Ahmed, on the other hand, opposed the application and contended that this plea was premature and not maintainable adding that as per the mandate of prison rule, the President will seek a report from Jail authorities and the execution will be stayed suo moto.
Judge Rana had asked Singh how he could afford to ignore the order of the Delhi High Court, which granted a week's time to the convicts to avail all legal remedied available to them.
Lawyer for victim's family, advocate Jitender Jha submitted that that trial court does not have jurisdiction to deal with this situation adding that only the High Court can impose stay as per Section 415 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which deals with the postponement of execution sentence of death in case of appeal to the Supreme Court.
Earlier today, the court had also dismissed an application seeking a stay on the execution of the death warrant but slated to hear a petition afresh after advocate AP Singh informed the court that the mercy petition of convict Pawan Gupta was filed before the President.
President Ram Nath Kovind had on February 5 rejected the mercy petition of convict Akshay Thakur. So far, mercy petitions of Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Singh have also been rejected.
The case pertains to the gangrape and brutalising of a 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus on the night of December 16, 2012, by six people including a juvenile in Delhi. The woman had died at a Singapore hospital a few days later. (ANI)