Convict Akshay had filed the mercy petition before the president a few days ago. (Photo Credit: File)
President Ram Nath Kovind has rejected the mercy petition of Akshay Kumar Singh, one of the four convicts facing the gallows in the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case, Home Ministry officials said on Wednesday. Singh had filed the mercy petition before the president a few days ago. The president has already rejected the clemency petition of two other accused in the case Mukesh Singh and Vinay Kumar Sharma.
Meanwhile, the central government has moved the Supreme Court against the judgement of the Delhi High Court giving seven days to Nirbhaya gangrape convicts to exhaust legal options against their hanging. The high court had also ruled that the convicts can't be hanged separately. Interestingly, the Centre didn't even wait for the copy of the judgment. Along with the Centre, the National Capital Territory of Delhi has filed a Special Leave Petition against the judgment.
Earlier in the day, the Delhi High Court, while pronouncing order on the Centre's plea challenging stay on execution of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case, had said the prison rules do not state that if mercy petition of one convict is pending, the execution of the other convicts can take place.
"Delhi Prison Rules do not say that if mercy petition of one convict is pending, the execution of the other convicts can take place," said Justice Suresh Kait, who was hearing the case.
"Since upto the Supreme Court, their fate has been decided by a common judgment, I am of the opinion that death warrant of all convicts should be executed together and not separately," the court added.
Justice Suresh Kumar Kait had on February 2 reserved order on the Centre's plea after holding special hearing on Saturday and Sunday. The Centre and the Delhi government has also challenged the trial court's January 31 order staying "till further orders" the execution of all the four convicts in the case -- Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar (31), who are lodged in Tihar Jail.
The trial court on January 17 issued black warrants for the second time for the execution of all the four convicts in the case. Earlier, on January 7, the court had fixed January 22 as the hanging date. On January 31 the court again stayed the execution as the counsel for three convicts -- Pawan, Vinay and Akshay -- urged it to adjourn the matter "sine die" saying their legal remedies were yet to be exhausted.
While the mercy pleas of Mukesh and Vinay have been rejected by the President, Pawan has not yet filed it. Akshay's mercy plea was filed on February 1 and is pending.
The Centre and Delhi government challenged the trial court's order staying the execution.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing them, had contended that it was a deliberate and calculated design of the convicts to "frustrate mandate of law" by getting their execution delayed and they were not entitled to any more time.