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The Delhi High Court today had also directed the convicts to avail their legal remedies within seven days.
In a swift move, the Centre along with the government of NCT Delhi through the Lt. Governor has moved the Supreme Court against the order of the Delhi High Court which held that the four convicts in the Nirbhaya case cannot be hanged separately.
While refusing to set aside the order of the Trial Court to postpone the execution of the four convicts, the Delhi High Court had also directed the convicts to avail the legal remedies available to them within a period of seven days.
Shortly after the decision of the High Court was pronounced in Centre's revision petition, a special leave petition has now been moved before the Supreme Court assailing the High Court's ruling.
The question posed by the Centre before the Apex Court is whether after the exhaustion of all legal remedies in the case of a death penalty, can a convict frustrate the mandate of law merely because his co-convicts have not moved to exercise their legal remedies available.
As of today, the mercy petitions filed by Mukesh and Vinay Sharma have been rejected by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind. The mercy plea filed by Akshay Kumar Singh remains pending. The fourth convict, Pawan Gupta has not exercised the right to file a mercy plea yet.
The Centre avers that the Delhi Prison Rules do not provide for a mandatory simultaneous execution of persons convicted of the same crime, a position taken by the Centre even before the High Court.
It is claimed by the Centre that the four death row convicts intended to delay the execution by taking recourse to their legal remedies one after the other, just as the date of execution set by the Trial Court was nearing. This is an abuse of the process of law and an attempt to make a mockery of the judicial system, it is claimed.
The Centre recently also filed an application in the Shatrughan Chauhan case before the Supreme Court to update the guidelines on execution of death-row convicts.
The Centre has urged that the guidelines laid down by the Apex Court be modified or clarified to make them more victim-centric rather than convict-centric as they are now. This application, however, bears no connection with the Nirbhaya case, the Centre informs the Supreme Court.