The Apex court today has adjourned the Centre’s plea challenging the Delhi High Court’s verdict that dismissed its petition against the stay on the execution of the four death row convicts in Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case, till 11 February.
The bench comprising of Justices R Bhanumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna were hearing to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s request to issue a notice to the convicts. The bench stated that issuing notices to the convicts at this stage will furthermore delay the matter. Observing that the Delhi High Court had given the four death-row convicts in the case one week time to exhaust their legal options, which will expire on 11 February, the bench held that it would hear to Mehta’s plea on 11 February and may also consider whether notice was required to be issued to the convicts.
However, Mehta mentioned to the court that the delayed executions have been testing the nation’s patience. He stated that one of the convicts Mukesh Kumar Singh has exhausted all his remedies, including mercy plea and the challenge to its rejection in the apex court while the mercy plea of Akshay Kumar and Vinay Sharma have already been dismissed. Mehta added that the fourth convict, Pawan has neither filed a curative nor a mercy petition.
“The question is, is the authority required to wait endlessly,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta asserted to the bench.
Meanwhile, the bench stated that “No one can be compelled to take remedies.”
Mehta said that in this case there may be a situation where one convict ‘sits tight for five years’ and the others then approach the apex court seeking commutation of the death penalty on the ground of delay in execution. To this, the bench stated that “the high court has granted them (convicts) one-week time to avail all their remedies. This amply protects you.”
“We want to hear you on merits and shall consider this aspect on the next date of hearing,” the bench told Mehta.