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Will Nirbhaya’s killers hang on January 22? The legal obstacles that remain

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New Delhi, Jan 14: The curative petitions filed by the two convicts in the Nirbhaya case have been rejected by the Supreme Court.

A bench of Justices N V Ramana, Arun Mishra, R F Nariman, R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan heard the petitions filed by Vinay Sharma (26) and Mukesh Kumar (32).
Mukesh Kumar and Vinay Sharma had filed curative petitions in the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Will Nirbhaya’s killers hang on January 22? The legal obstacles that remain

Two other death-row convicts, Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25), against whom death warrants have been issued by a Delhi court, have not filed curative petitions.

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A 23-year-old paramedic student, referred to as Nirbhaya, was gang-raped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012, in a moving bus in south Delhi by six people before being thrown out on the road. She died on December 29 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

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    While the latest order of the Supreme Court paves the way for the hanging, there is a possibility that the two other convicts could also file a curative plea in the Supreme Court.

    Since it is a common case, the same order would be applicable to all.

    The convicts can still petition the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and also the President of India. If the convicts decide to exercise all these options, then the hanging on January 22 may be difficult. However, if the government wishes, it could speed up the process to ensure that the hanging takes place on the date that the Delhi court had decided. A black warrant was issued by the Delhi court last week.

    In the Dhananjoy Chatterjee case, he had filed a mercy plea first with the Governor and the same was rejected within a fortnight. He then filed a mercy petition with the President of India. The same was rejected after four months.

    A Delhi court had on Tuesday issued death warrants against the four convicts and said they would be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar jail.

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    The Supreme Court had in 2017 upheld the capital punishment awarded to them by the Delhi High Court and a trial court.

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

    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.

    On July 9, 2018, the Supreme Court had dismissed the review pleas filed by three of the convicts in the case, saying no grounds had been made out by them for review of the 2017 verdict.

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