AGENCIES, New Delhi: The uncertainty over the hanging of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya rape and murder case continues with a Delhi court on Friday dismissing Tihar jail authorities’ request to grant a fresh date of execution through the issuance of a death warrant.
While hearing the arguments, the court sought to know from Tihar authorities how they presumed that no mercy plea will be filed by Pawan Gupta, one of the four convicts, within the one-week deadline granted on February 5 by the Delhi High Court. It observed that the death warrants can’t be issued “merely on the basis of surmise and conjecture”.
The petitioner told the court that since Pawan had not filed any legal challenge since 2018 when his review petition was dismissed by the SC, it was unlikely that he would file one now. The court didn’t agree and said it upholds the right to legal remedies.
Tihar jail authorities had sought a fresh date of execution for the four convicts citing dismissal of mercy petitions of three convicts by the President of India and absence of any pending application by the convicts before courts.
The defence counsel, however, called the application premature in the view of the February 5 Delhi High Court verdict that had given the convicts a week’s time to exhaust their legal remedies before authorities could decide on the next step.
The Tihar jail authorities had argued that it would be fitting for the court to fix a new date for execution keeping the HC deadline in mind.
Pawan Gupta is the only convict who has not yet filed a curative petition which is the last legal remedy available to him, after which he has the option of filing a mercy plea before the President of India.