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Nirbhaya convicts acting in tandem: Centre to Delhi HC

NEW DELHI: Accusing the convicts of acting in tandem to frustrate the very objective of the punishment, Centre on Sunday told the Delhi High Court that the convicts in the case are filing all kinds of appeals in courts but not the mercy petition.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told Justice Suresh Kait, “Mukesh has filed almost his seventh legal proceeding on January 31. Till that point, he had still not filed his mercy plea. This is to deliberately delay the execution.”

Mehta went on to explain how much time each convict in the case has taken in exercising their legal remedies. Countering Centre’s stand, senior advocate Rebecca John appearing on behalf of Mukesh Singh said, “I am standing here today because even death row convicts of heinous crimes are entitled to their rights. The convicts are under no constitutional obligation to hasten the proceedings. You can’t condemn me for using legal remedies.”

“Even the convicts have constitutional rights and we are only exercising them, why did Centre wake up only yesterday (Saturday) what were they doing earlier. Can the convicts be hanged separately by common sentencing order? Trial court has passed the common sentence order it means common execution. There must be affirmative powers to execute me separately which prison rules don’t allow. Bifurcation is not permissible,” John argued while questioning the haste in which Centre has approached the high court challenging the trial court order.

The Delhi Jail Manual Rule 14(2) makes it clear that multiple convicts in the same crime cannot be hanged before each one of them has exhausted all legal options, including filing mercy petitions before the President. The four convicts, along with two others had gang-raped the young woman in a moving bus on the night of December 16, 2012.