New Delhi: Adding a new twist to the ongoing saga of the four convicts fate in the Delgi gangrape case, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday ruled that all the four found guilty and sentenced to death should exercise their legal remedies within the next seven days after which the authorities should act in accordance with the law. The verdict was given by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait.
Justice Kait, however, rejected the Centre’s appeal against the trial court’s order that put off their execution on February 1 and the request to hang two of them — Mukesh Singh and Vinay Sharma — because they had exhausted their legal options.
Tushar Mehta, the Centre’s senior most-senior law officer, had argued that the court had misinterpreted the Tihar prison rules that requires the court to defer execution of death row convicts if an appeal or an application is made on behalf of any one of them.
Mehta, who had been critical of the effort by the convicts to delay their execution, had sought to convince the high court that a mercy petition could not be counted as an appeal or application. But Justice Kait wasn’t convinced.
“I am of the opinion that all their death warrants have to be executed together,” the judge ruled.
Justice Kait, who had held a special hearing on Sunday at the Centre’s request, said the convicts were taking shelter of Article 21 which provides protection to them till their last breath.
Senior advocate Rebecca John and advocate Vrinda Grover had countered the narrative that the four convicts were trying to delay their execution, underlying that they were just using the remedies that they are entitled to under the Constitution. They argued that the Delhi government didn’t seek a death warrant for several years and “the Centre had woken up yesterday and they are questioning me for the delay”.