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Plea in Delhi HC for NHRC probe into mental, physical health of Nirbhaya convicts

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A plea has been moved in the Delhi High Court on Friday seeking court’s direction for a probe by National Human Rights Corporation (NRHC) into the physical and mental conditions of the four death row convicts in 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case.

The petition moved by activist A Rajaranjan has asked for NHRC to intervene and enquire about the physical and mental conditions of the convicts with the help of unbiased medical experts including others from the relevant field.

The activist has referred the delayed issuance of death warrants, right at the time of Delhi Assembly elections, as an unreasonable and arbitrary tactic to capitalise the execution of the convicts.

The petitioner submitted that the authorities failed to initiate the execution proceedings within an appropriate time as mandated by the law i.e within 30 days of the dismissal of the criminal appeal.

He contended that the deliberate omission and commission on the part of concerned authorities from initiating the execution proceedings within appropriate time have caused the convicts to live in a constant fear of death thereby causing mental agony and distress to the convicts. He further said such treating of the convicts violates their fundamental and human rights as enshrined under Articles 14 and 21 f the constitution.

The petitioner has also alleged that the four convicts have been kept under solitary confinement in violation of the criminal laws of the land.

A 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who came to be known as ”Nirbhaya”, 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.

Six people, including the four convicts, Ram Singh and a juvenile — were named as accused.

The trial of the five adult men began in a special fast-track court in March 2013.

Ram Singh, the prime accused, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself in Tihar jail days after the trial began. The juvenile, who was said to be the most brutal of the attackers, was put in a correctional home for three years.

The juvenile was released in 2015 and sent to an undisclosed location amid concerns over a threat to his life. He, when released, was 20 years old.

The trial of the four adults began in a special fast-track court in March 2013 and they were sentenced to death in September 2013 by the trial court.

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