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Grover has moved the Additional Sessions Court to postpone the date of execution in view of Mukesh's mercy plea before the President.
Emotions cannot take over the law of the land, Advocate Vrindra Grover today argued before the Court of Additional Sessions Judge Satish Arora as she sought to postpone the date of execution in the Nirbhaya gang rape case.
On January 7, the Court had issued death warrant against the four convicts in Nirbhaya gang rape case, Akshay, Pawan, Mukesh and Vinay. As per warrant, the four were ordered to be hanged on January 22 at 7 am.
Grover had moved the Court yesterday seeking to postpone this date of execution in view of the subsequent turn of events.
Grover today informed the Court that Mukesh had preferred a mercy plea before the President of India, soon after the dismissal of his curative petition by the Supreme Court.
Relying of the Supreme Court judgement in Shatrughan Chauhan vs UOI, Grover thus argued that in view of the pendency of the mercy plea, the order of execution dated January 7 ought to be kept in abeyance.
At the outset, Grover clarfied that she was not challenging the merits of the January 7 order, but merely seeking the postponement of the execution date.
"Because of the events that happened thereafter, the order of execution warrant is unexecutable.. At no point have we said that the order is erroneous.", she said.
Grover argued that the protective umbrella of Article 21 of the Constitution was available to a prisoner till his last breath and even after the rejection of one's mercy plea, rights remained alive for them.
Seeking a specific direction from the Court on the unenforceability of the January 7 order, Grover contended that the decision on execution could be left on the Jail Authorities.
"Can we leave the question of the life of a man on the interpretation of Rules by the Jail Authorities? The order has to be put in abeyance.. This is irreversible. If he has to be hanged, he must be hanged on the orders of the Court. Rule of law has to be followed, whatever be the acoustics of a case..", Grover remarked.
She further remarked,
"I needed some specific documents for Mukesh (for filing the mercy plea), the Jail Authorities are refusing to either accept or reject my request. Can I be thrown to the wolves who have no respect for the law of the land?"
Grover also asserted that in the first place, it was not the convict's but duty of the Tihar Jail Authorties to inform the Court about the change in circumstances of the case.
Grover also took the opportunity to address the concerns of delay in the case and informed that Court that none of the petitions, including the curative, was dismissed by the Supreme Court on grounds of limitation.
She also pointed out that she was appointed as Mukesh's counsel only on December 18.
"There are four convicts and I was asked to represent Mukesh only on December 18. Has there been any delay since then? Would what has happening been with others be used to deny his (Mukesh's) statutory and constitutional rights? I cannot undo the past."
"This is not personal. We are discharging our constitutional duty", Grover stated.
In response, Prosecutor Rajeev Mohan argued that once a death warrant is issued under Sec 413 CrPC, the Court has no power to stay the warrant.
He contended that the Jail Superintendent was vested with the power to postpone the date of execution on his own under the Prison Rules.
Prosecutor Irfan Ahmed added that Tihar Jail Authorities have already written to the State Government on the issue of filing of mercy plea in complaince of Rule 840, Delhi Prison Rules and are awaiting reply.
On being asked by the Court if the same had been communicated to it, Ahmed replied,
"As and when we recieve the reply, we would intimate the Court."
Ahmed added that in the face of pending reply from the State Government, the convicts would not be hanged.
The Court thus directed the Tihar Jail Administration to file a report on point of the status of the scheduled execution of the convicts and remarked that the earlier intimation received by it from the Authorities was incomplete.
The matter would be taken up next on January 17.