Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to set aside the death warrant issued against one of the four Nirbhaya convicts, Mukesh.
A division bench of the court presided by Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal asked convict Mukesh’s counsel to approach the trial court and apprise the court about the new developments that have taken place recently after the January 7 order.
“Apprise the trial court about the mercy plea pending,” the bench said adding that “there is nothing wrong with the trial court’s execution order”.
Advocates Rebecca John and Vrinda Grover appearing for Mukesh showed their agreement to the observation and said that they are approaching the Patiala House Court very soon.
The court observed that trial court while passing the order on January 7 observed that there was no curative or mercy petition pending in any forum.
Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court, earlier in the day, reprimanded the legal team of convict Mukesh over the delay in exercising the legal remedies available to them.
“You have waited for two-and-a-half years to file a curative and mercy petition? Criminal appeal was dismissed in 2017. After that, what took you so long to exercise your legal remedies? A clever litigant does that, he waits for the death warrant to be issued. When the execution date arrives, he files review, on the next death warrant he files curative,” observed a division bench of the high court presided by Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal.
The observation was made after senior advocate Rebecca John, appearing for Mukesh said, “After the dismissal of another convict Akshay’s review, a notice was issued to all the convicts. Even assuming that the notice served on me for filing mercy, the fact of the matter is that the trial court allowed the counsels to meet the convicts and in the meeting was regarding legal remedies. I have not even wasted a day to file a mercy petition.”
The high court was hearing a petition filed by Mukesh, one of the convicts in the case, challenging the death warrant issued against him. Convict Mukesh had moved the Delhi High Court on Tuesday after the Supreme Court had dismissed his curative petition.
Delhi’s Patiala House Court had on January 7 issued death warrants against all the four convicts in the 2012 case.
While issuing death warrants, the trial court observed that “despite being afforded sufficient time and opportunity”, the convicts didn’t exercise their legal remedies.
The court has fixed January 22 and 7 am as the date and time of execution for the four Nirbhaya convicts – Vinay Sharma (26), Mukesh Kumar (32), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25).
The 23-year-old victim, who came to be known as Nirbhaya, was brutally gangraped and tortured on December 16, 2012, which later led to her death. All the six accused were arrested and charged with sexual assault and murder. One of the accused was a minor and appeared before a juvenile justice court, while another accused committed suicide in Tihar Jail.