In the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case, today, the Supreme Court sought response from the four death row convicts on the Centre’s appeal challenging the Delhi High Court verdict which dismissed its plea against stay on their execution.

The top court bench headed by Justice R Banumathi granted liberty to the authorities to approach the trial court for issuance of fresh date for the execution of these convict.

The apex court bench also comprised of justices Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna. The bench made it clear that pendency of the appeal filed by the Centre and Delhi government before it would not be an impediment for the trial court in issuing fresh date for execution of the convicts.

Solicitor General Tuhar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and the Delhi government said that the execution of these convicts is not for “enjoyment” and the authorities are only executing the mandate of the law.

A Delhi Court on January 31, deferred the hanging of four convicts in Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case till further orders which was scheduled for February 1 at 6 am.

Earlier that day, the Supreme Court had rejected one of the convicts Pawan Gupta’s claim of being a minor in 2012 when the brutal incident happened. This was the second time in two weeks that the court had rejected Gupta’s claim of being a minor.

In his petition, he asked the apex court to review its decision, even though he had been told that once rejected, an age claim cannot be contested repeatedly.

The brutal gangrape and murder case in which the four convicts are sentenced is of December 16, 2012, when a paramedic student was brutally gangraped by a group of five men on a moving bus. The sixth convict was a juvenile. Later the victim succumbed to her injuries in the hospital.

One of the accused was a minor and appeared before a juvenile justice court, while another accused committed suicide in Tihar Jail. The four convicts were sentenced to death by a trial court in September 2013, and the verdict confirmed by the Delhi High Court in March 2014 and upheld in May 2017 by the Supreme Court, which also dismissed their review petitions.