New Delhi, Feb 1
The Delhi High Court will hold a special hearing on Sunday afternoon to decide a petition by the government that sought the execution of at least two of the four men convicted for the rape and murder of the 23-year-old paramedic.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who had appeared for the government, told the judges that the convicts were trying the patience of the country by their delaying tactics.
“This gang rape case will go down in history of India where convicts of heinous crime are trying patience of country,” Mehta, who is the Centre’s second most-senior law officer told the court.
Justice Suresh Kait also issued notice to the Tihar jail chief after the lawyer representing the prison authorities told the court that he would need to seek instructions.
Mehta was critical of the conduct of the convicts, who he said, had taken the legal process for a joyride.
The government had petitioned the high court against the Delhi court’s order on Friday freezing the black warrant issued for the four men sentenced to death for the rape and murder a 23-year-old paramedic in 2012.
The four convicts — Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Kumar Gupta (25), Akshay Thakur (31) and Vinay Sharma (26) - were sentenced to death by a fast-track court within a year of the 2012 rape and murder of the woman. But it took years for the appeals process to complete in the superior courts.
Mehta, who wants the high court to direct the trial judge to issue a fresh black warrant, said two convicts - Mukesh Singh and Vinay Sharma - should be executed since they had exhausted their legal options.
But the Tihar Prison manual requires that the four - who were sentenced to death by a single verdict - be hanged together and bars hanging them one by one.
Solicitor General Mehta cited the 2014 verdict of the Supreme Court where the judge had spoken about the dehumanising effect of long delays in hanging death row convicts.
He said a person facing the death penalty should be executed immediately because otherwise it will have a dehumanising effect on him.
That observation by the Supreme Court was in the context of petitions by death row convicts whose mercy petitions were rejected by the government after keeping them waiting for years, in some cases, upto a decade.
In the same judgment, the top court had also laid down guidelines for dealing with mercy petitions, commuted death sentence of convicts to life because the government took too long to decide their petitions and introduced checks to ensure that the government did not carry out secret executions.
In the December 2012 case, there are four death row convicts, and they have chosen to file their various petitions in a phased manner -- every petition by a convict is filed only after the one filed by another is rejected -- causing a delay in the process. Hindustan Times