A Delhi court on Friday issued fresh death warrants for February 1 against the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case.
However, it seems unlikely, once again, that the four convicts will be executed on February 1.
According to the provision of the Delhi Jail Manual, a convict should get 14 days time after his mercy petition is dismissed. Raj Kumar, Additional Inspector General Tihar Jail, admitted that the new deadline can only be honoured if the convicts don’t file any curative or mercy petitions.
“If they don’t file any curative and mercy petition, we can execute them on February 1,” Kumar told Outlook.
The four convicts were earlier scheduled to be hanged on January 22 at 7 AM. The fresh death warrant was issued after the President of India rejected the mercy plea of one of the convicts.
The four convicts on death row are Mukesh (32), Vinay Sharma (26), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25). The Supreme Court dismissed the curative petition of Mukesh and Vinay on January 14. The same day, Mukesh filed a mercy petition which was dismissed by the President on Friday.
Vinay’s mercy petition is under dispute as he has alleged that it was filed by Tihar Jail authorities without his consent and before he could file a curative plea in the top court.
Two other convicts, Akshay and Pawan, have not filed any curative petition yet. “The two convicts will file a curative petition as well,” AP Singh, who represents all four convicts in Supreme Court, said.
Singh also alleged that Tihar Jail authorities are deliberately not providing the relevant documents required to file the curative petition. "Jail authorities are not cooperating at all," he said.
The Delhi Jail Manual gives convicts seven days time to file mercy petition after the last appeal is dismissed. It also gives 14 days time after the mercy petition is dismissed.
Given the fact that two convicts have not yet filed the curative petition, the February 1 seems unlikely to be the day when the four convicts in 2012 gang-rape and murder case will be sent to gallows.
Meanwhile, Pawan has moved the apex court challenging the Delhi High Court's order dismissing his claim of being a juvenile at the time of the commission of the offence in December 2012.
Unless the top court decides on the plea moved by Pawan, he can buy time for filing a curative petition on the ground that his juvenility issue is sub-judice.