On March 2, 2020 Patiala House Court’s Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana accepted plea of Pawan Kumar Gupta and Akshay Singh seeking to stay on the execution of the death warrant which is scheduled on March 3, 2020 at 6 A.M.
The Court observed in the order that "any condemned convict must not meet his Creator with a grievance in his bosom that the courts of this Country has not acted fairly in granting him an opportunity to exhaust his legal remedies".
The court upbraids Advocate A.P. Singh appearing for convicts "I want to ask you when you got to know about mercy rejection on Feb 5, you still waited to file a fresh petition till Feb 29?" He further questioned "How can you do this? You leave your client hanging till the last hour and then file?"
Counsel appearing for convicts argued that a Special Leave Petition regarding separate hanging of convicts is pending before Supreme Court, which is scheduled on March 5, 2020 and an application before the Election Commission of India is pending regarding Vinay Sharma's mercy rejection during Model Code of Conduct being in force. He further argued that Rule 836 of the Delhi Prison Rules, 2018 unequivocally mandates that when any appeal or application is pending before SC, a death sentence cannot be executed. Further under Rule 858, the death warrant cannot be executed against remaining convicts and He also cited Rule 870 of Delhi Prison Rules, 2018. He went on to urge that since a complete mercy petition was not filed in the case of Akshay, he is compelled to file a fresh one now.
The court responded to counsel, “Is there any rule according to which if curative petition is dismissed then new petition can filed?”. To which public prosecutor responded by saying “No” and Advocate A.P. Singh replied that yes it can be filed.
Earlier today, the Supreme court bench comprising Justices N V Ramana, Arun Mishra, R F Narima, R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan rejected a curative petition by one of the four convicts, Pawan Gupta, a day before the four convicts are scheduled to be hanged. Pawan Gupta, 25, was the only convict in the case who had not exhausted his legal options of a curative petition.
The defendant’s counsel also stated that mercy petition of Pawan Kumar Gupta is still pending before the President. He further said, “Justice Katju has informed them through mail that he will talk to President to pardon death sentence.”
Advocate A.P. Singh said that as he got information about the rejection of curative petition of Pawan Gupta he filed mercy petition before the President.
The court said, “When does court comes into picture?....Only when mercy petition is rejected by President. Delhi High Court has given you 7-day time to file mercy petition before President but you didn’t file it. You ignored Delhi High Court decree?”
The court in the concluding remark said, “Since, 7-day time period given by Delhi High Court is over. So, now only government can interfere.” It further explained it’s point by giving example, “If I go to medical shop to buy tomato, can he give me? No, right? Similarly, petitioned will be dealt by government, not by court”.
“Why you didn’t think of this before that where will you go because you file everything in last moment,” judge said.
After the judge pronounced order around 12.30 PM on Monday stating that there was no stay on execution, Advocate A P Singh informed the Court that Pawan Gupta submitted a mercy petition before the President, following the dismissal of his curative plea by the Supreme Court on Monday morning. Therefore, the judge agreed to consider the matter again at 2 PM. Despite of the fact that time given by Delhi High Court is over.
"Rule 840 (of Delhi Prison Rules) lays down the procedure for dealing with the mercy petition, if the same is moved after the prescribed period, and it nowhere says that the mercy petition beyond the prescribed period deserves to be summarily rejected on account of limitation", the order stated.
All the legal options of the remaining three convicts Akshay, Mukesh and Vinay have been exhausted. A 'black warrant' signed in their names was revoked by an additional sessions judge in Delhi earlier this year after one of the convicts filed a mercy plea before President Ram Nath Kovind that was turned down. The trial court has issued a death warrant to hang the culprits on March 3 at 6 am. In the petition filed on Friday, Pawan has also requested to postpone the hanging on March 3, 2020.
A 23 years old physiotherapy intern was brutally beaten and raped by 6 men in private bus on the roads of our national capital Delhi on 16th December 2012. Ram Singh died in police custody in Tihar Jail on 11 March 2013.juvenile served the maximum imprisonment of three years under Juvenile Justice Laws.
Author – Satwik Sharma