Nirbhaya case: HC says delay in mercy plea by convicts shows conspiracy

Photo: PTI

The Delhi High Court on Friday said that the delay in filing mercy plea by the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case shows there is a conspiracy and that someone is playing with the system.

A bench comprising justices Manmohan and Sanjeev Narula said there has been gross delay in filing mercy plea and requested the counsel appearing for the convicts to present a substantial legal point.

The lawyer urged the high court to defer hanging by 3-4 days so that he can address his case.

However, the bench said this is the fourth death warrant in the matter and there has already been "gross delay" on the part of the convicts.

"You have to make out a case for stay. We cannot grant stay of execution without you making out a good case for it. Such a casual approach by you.

"At 11'o clock we are saying please come to the point. You are not coming to the point," the bench said in a late night hearing.

It further added that there was no foundation in the plea requesting the lawyer to put up a substantial legal point.

"There is very limited time now, so if you have a legal point come to it. Or you can carry on till the cows come home," the bench said.

It asked the convicts' lawyer not to waste time as at 5.30 am the plea would become infructuous.

"We are very close to the time when your clients will meet God. Don't waste it," the bench said

When hearing commenced, the bench said the petition on behalf of the three convicts lacked material particulars like affidavits and memo (list) of parties which are essential components of a plea.

The lawyer of the convicts claimed that the material particulars were missing due to paucity of time as he was running from trial court to the Supreme Court and then the high court.

To this, the bench said only in India courts are so accessible as the convicts have moved the trial court, Supreme Court and the high court on the same day.

At the outset, the court said that pendency of a divorce plea of convict Akshay Kumar Singh's wife was not relevant to stay his execution.

It also said that the Supreme Court has already held that the pending divorce plea was no longer relevant.

The bench added that the apex court's judgement confirming death sentence has attained finality and the court cannot sit and review over it.

"We cannot say death warrant cannot be implemented because divorce plea of Akshay's wife is pending," the bench said.

Three of the four death row convicts, Akshay, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma moved the high court in the evening challenging the trial court order declining to stay their execution.

They, along with Mukesh Singh, are scheduled to be hanged at 5.30 am on Friday.

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