December 16 gangrape: Convicts won’t be hanged tomorrow as Delhi court defers execution

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A Delhi court Monday deferred the execution of 2012 Delhi gangrape convicts after the mercy petition of Pawan Kumar Gupta was rejected by President Ram Nath Kovind. According to Delhi Prison Rules, if a mercy petition is submitted, the convict has to be given a 14-day period after the dismissal of the plea.

Earlier in the day, the Patiala House Court dismissed the pleas of two of the convicts — Pawan and Akshay Kumar Singh seeking a stay on the execution of their death warrants. All the convicts in the case are scheduled to be hanged on March 3. The court, however, decided to hear the lawyer of one of the two convicts, Pawan Kumar Gupta, after it was informed that he has filed a mercy plea before the President of India after his curative petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court earlier in the day.

The court slammed convict Pawan Gupta’s lawyer A P Singh for acting late in filing curative and mercy pleas. Warning him that he is “playing with fire” and “should be cautious”, the judge said, “One wrong move by anybody, and you know the consequences.”

Earlier in the day, the SC bench of justices N V Ramana, Arun Mishra, R F Nariman, R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan said that no case is made out for re-examining the conviction and the punishment of the convict.

On Friday, Pawan filed the curative plea through lawyer A P Singh seeking setting aside of the apex court’s earlier verdicts on appeals and review petitions in the case.

Advocate A P Singh said he filed an application in the apex court registry on Sunday seeking an oral hearing on Pawan’s curative plea in the open court.

Pawan is the last death row convict in the case to move the top court with his curative plea, the final legal remedy available to a person.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Tihar jail authorities termed as a “bundle of distorted facts” the claim by another convict, Vinay Kumar Sharma, that he is suffering from mental illness.

The authorities told Additional Sessions Judge, Dharmender Rana, that CCTV footage established that Sharma had inflicted “superficial” injuries on himself and was not suffering from any psychological disorder.

The court has reserved its order on Sharma’s plea seeking relief on grounds of mental illness and is likely to pronounce it shortly.

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