Authorities in Tihar jail on Saturday moved the Delhi High Court, challenging the stay granted by a sessions court on the execution of the four Nirbhaya case death row convicts.
The high court is likely to hear the plea today itself.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana had on Friday postponed the hanging of Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur and Pawan Gupta till further orders in the 2012 gang-rape and murder case.
“Without commenting upon the dilatory tactics adopted by the convicts, suffice it would be to state that seeking redressal of one’s grievances through procedure established by law is the hallmark of any civilized society,” the judge had said.
On January 22, a Delhi sessions court had issued black warrants for the hanging of the convicts on February 1.
On Friday, advocate AP Singh, who represented the convicts had urged the court to adjourn the executions “sine die” (indefinitely) as legal remedies of some of the convicts were yet to be availed and also no one could contemplate as to when the President would take a view on pending mercy plea of Sharma.
During the hearing, public prosecutor Irfan Ahmed, appearing for the Tihar jail authorities, had challenged the maintainability of the application seeking a stay order.
He had said, “Only one convict’s (Vinay Sharma) mercy plea is pending and that the others can be sent to the gallows without any delay.”
The prosecutor had submitted that there was no illegality in hanging the convicts separately.
However, Singh had argued that the convicts could not be hanged until their mercy plea was rejected by the President. Therefore, the scheduled date of execution should be postponed, he had pleaded.
Vrinda Grover, who was appointed as amicus curiae to assist the court in the case, said she has ensured that all the legal remedies available to the convicts are availed without any undue wastage of court’s time.
The lawyer informed the court that the execution of all the convicts have to be postponed even if the mercy petition of a single convict is pending.
“The sentence is a common sentence, the death warrant is a common warrant. Therefore, these convicts can’t be executed separately as there can’t be a severance of the sentence,” Grover submitted.
“Death Penalty is an irreversible process. It would be a travesty of justice if the convicts are segregated in terms of sentence for the very same offence,” she had contended.
Seema Kushwaha, representing the victim paramedic student’s family, had questioned the locus standi of Grover.
Kushwaha had said, “Grover is not acting as a ‘friend of the court’ (amicus curiae) as she is being partial towards the convicts.”
On December 16, 2012, the student was gang-raped in a moving bus and brutalised by six people in Delhi. The student died at a Singapore hospital where she was airlifted for treatment.
One of the key accused, Ram Singh, had allegedly committed suicide in Tihar jail during the pendency of the case, while the sixth was a minor at the time of the commission of the crime and was let out after serving a three-year remand in a juvenile justice home.