Agencies, New Delhi: In a fresh twist in the Nirbhaya murder and gangrape sags, death row convict Pawan Kumar Gupta has filed a curative petition before the Supreme Court four days before his execution along with three others. Gupta’s curative petition pleads his death sentence be commuted to life imprisonment.
In the light of the fresh petition, it is not clear whether the three of the four convicts will be hanged on the morning of March 3.
Pawan Gupta is the only one of the four convicts to have not exhausted all his legal remedies. Despite a seven-day deadline granted by the Delhi High Court for convicts to avail all legal options, Gupta hadn’t filed either a curative petition or a mercy petition till Friday. Pawan Gupta’s counsel argued that he wasn’t aware of the seven-day time frame.
Gupta’s petition comes at a time when the Centre is seeking the Supreme Court’s approval for hanging the Delhi gang rape convicts separately in its challenge of a Delhi High Court order that ruled against it.
The two previous death warrants issued to hang the four convicts on January 22 and February 1 had to be deferred by a local court in light of mercy petitions and appeals by one or the other convict.
The Delhi High Court had ruled that the death warrant of all convicts in the case should be executed together and convicts cannot be hanged separately as the Delhi prison rules do not state whether when the mercy petition of one convict is pending, the execution of the other convicts in the same case can take place.
On February 17, a Delhi court had issued a new death warrant against the four convicts – Vinay Sharma, Mukesh Kumar Singh, Pawan Gupta and Akshay Thakur — and ordered their hanging at 6 am on March 3.