Explained: The mockery of justice in the Nirbhaya case
New Delhi, Mar 05: There has been an absolute mockery of justice in the Nirbhaya case, with the four convicts filings appeals one after another separately. The loophole in the law, which bars the hanging of convicts separately has been made use of in this case.
On Wednesday, the President rejected the mercy petition by Pawan Gupta and this led the Tihar jail authorities to seek a fresh death warrant against the four convicts.
On September 13 2017, the trial court sentenced the four, Mukesh, Akshay, Pawan and Vinay to death. Following the confirmation of the sentence by the trial court, the four preferred an appeal in the Supreme Court, which rejected their plea on May 5 2017.
Mukesh and Vinay filed their review petitions separately in 2017. After their pleas were rejected in 2018, the same year, Pawan and Akshay moved the SC seeking review. On January 7, the trial court fixed the date of execution for January 22.
Mukesh then filed a curative petition on January 9, which was rejected. He then filed a mercy petition with the President of India, which was rejected on January 17.
The law states that once a mercy plea is rejected the convict be given 14 days time. The date of the execution was then fixed for February 1. The date had to be deferred as Vinay filed a mercy petition. The trial court then set March 3 as the fresh date for execution. On March 2, Pawan filed his mercy petition, but the same was rejected.
The Delhi Prison Rules do not permit separate hangings. Further the Delhi High Court had said that since the fate of the convicts has been decided by a common order and judgment at every stage from the trial court to the Supreme Court, the death warrants have to be executed together and not separately. On March 5 the SC will hear the Union Government's plea against this order of the Supreme Court.
The question now is will the execution take place now that the legal remedies have been executed? The rejection of a mercy plea can be challenged in the form of a write petition alleging procedural irregularities. Akshay and Vinay have these options and they could take this last resort to delay the hanging.