The four 2012 gang rape convicts sentenced to death should exercise their legal remedies within the next seven days after which the authorities should act in accordance with the law, Justice Suresh Kumar Kait of the Delhi High Court ruled on Wednesday.
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 senior-most law officer, argued that the court had misinterpreted the Tihar prison rules that require the court to defer execution of death row convicts if an appeal or an application is made on behalf of any one of them.
Justice Kait, however, said, “I am of the opinion that all their death warrants have to be executed together”. 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.
But he pulled up the authorities who the court felt had woken up late in the day. “I have no hesitation to say that nobody bothered to execute the death warrants as long as Mukesh did not file his review plea in the Supreme Court after 186 days,” the judge said.