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SC to hear on March 23 Centre’s plea on separate hanging of Nirbhaya convicts

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The Supreme Court will hear the Centre’s appeal against a Delhi High Court’s order which said death row convicts cannot be hanged separately, on March 23.

The three-judge bench on Thursday made it clear that this time no adjournments will be granted.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the apex court that the convicts had made a mockery of the system and had taken it for a ride.

The bench of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan, and AS Bopanna was apprised about the development at the sessions court from earlier today with regard to the issuance of fresh death warrant. The court was informed that the date of execution is now fixed for March 20, 5.30 am.

Mehta submitted that the four convicts have exhausted all legal remedies. He sought the court’s permission to execute Mukesh and Vinay first as their legal remedies, including judicial review of the rejection of mercy plea have been exhausted. He further argued that he can predict that the fresh date of execution, i.e. March 20 is also likely to get extended.

Earlier today, Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana fixed March 20 as the new date of execution after it was told by the Delhi government that the convicts have exhausted all their legal remedies and no petition is pending before any legal and constitutional body.

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 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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