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Litigation News

Nirbhaya: A day before the hanging, Delhi Court dismisses application to stay death warrant

Aditi Singh

A day before the four Nirbhaya convicts are scheduled to be hanged, an Additional Sessions Court in Delhi today dismissed their application to stay the execution of death warrant.

Judge Dharmender Rana began his 12-page order by stating that the resilience of law, which led certain suspecting soul to question 'Rule of Law', was the safegurads against human erros and not weakness of law.

The time consumed by the process of law has even led some difffident voices to be timourously question the very efficacy of 'Rule of Law'. Let me inform all the suspecting souls that in this great land of Gautam Buddha and Gandhi, 'Rule of Law' and not impetuous mob mentality, decides the fate of even the most wretched criminals and most abominable crimes. The resilience of law signifies the inherent safegurads against human erros and not the weakness of law.
ASJ Rana

Three of four convicts Vinay, Pawan and Akshay had moved the Court of Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana yesterday, seeking a stay on the execution of death warrant on the ground of pendency of various legal proceedings.

In the application filed through Advocate AP Singh, the convicts referred to the following pendency of legal proceedings:

1. "Second review mercy petition" by Pawan.

2. Curative Petition before the Supreme Court by Pawan with respect to his plea of juvenility at the time of the incident.

3. Criminal complaint by Pawan against Tihar Jail security personnel for beating him in jail.

4. Second "review mercy petition" by convict Akshay.

5. Divorce petition by Akshay's wife before a Bihar court.

6. Writ petition before the Delhi High Court challenging the irregularities in rejection of convict Vinay's mercy petition.

7. Appeal before the Delhi High Court concerning the false testimony by the sole witness.

8. Plea for urgent hearing before the International Court of Justice.

9. Appeal against robbery case against the convicts.

Apart from these proceedings, Adv AP Singh also stated that due to COVID-19 in the city due to which courts had restricted their functioning.

Prosecutor Irfan Ahmed argued that none of the above-mentioned legal proceedings could come in the way of the execution of death warrant as they were not legeal remedies against death penalty.

It was added that the convicts had wrongly assumed that their "second" mercy petition was pending.

The Prosecutor stated that the mercy petitions of the convicts had been dismissed by the Presdient on merits and preferring a second mercy Petition was not a legal remedy.

Asserting that the application was merely a delay tactic, tt was thus prayed that the stay application be dismissed as no legal remedy was pending before any fora or before the President.

Convict Pawan's curative petition with resoect to his claim that he was a juvenile at the time of the offence was rejected by the Supreme Court earlier today.

After considering the submissions made by parties, the Court stated,

"..the fact remains that the convicts have already exhausted the constitutional remedies available to them under Article 72 and Article 161 of the Constitution of India."

It opined that in view of Rule 836 of the Delhi Prison Rules, execution of a death warrant could not be postponed on the ground of pendency of a subsequent mercy petition.

The Court also clarified that a challenge to the rejection of mercy petition was not a legal remedy that could suspend the death warrant.

As far as the contention that Pawan had not exhausted all the legal remedies available was concerned, the Court noted that on Februray 5, the Delhi High Court had granted seven days to the convicts to avail all options. It thus opined,

One who seeks protection of law first needs to learn to respect it. Therefore, I do not find any plausible reasons to suspend the execution of death sentence simply because convict Pawan has opted not to exercise his legal remedy.
Delhi Court

The Court thus ordered,

"..I am of the considered opinion that the application is bereft of merits. No valid ground has been brought to justofy the stay of execution of death warrants. The application is accordingly dismissed."

Read the Order:

Nirbhaya order - March 18.pdf
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