"It's the system which is in question," Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and Delhi government in the Nirbahaya case, told the court.

File photo: PTI
news Crime Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 08:34

The Centre on Tuesday referred to the Hyderabad encounter of four men accused of the gang rape and murder of a woman veterinarian, in the Supreme Court, saying "people celebrated after the incident as people have started losing faith in the system".

Pointing to the "delaying tactics" adopted by the four death row convicts in the sensational Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case, the Centre said "it reflects poorly on our system".

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and Delhi government, told a bench of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna that execution of convicts is not for "enjoyment " and the authorities are only executing the mandate of the law.

"There is no concept of simultaneous execution of the convicts. The death row convicts in the case are acting in tandem. The delaying tactics adopted by them has an impact on the society. In a recent incident where four accused of gang rape and murder were killed in an encounter by the police, people were celebrating after the incident. This was because people have started losing the faith in the system. This reflects poorly on our system," he said.

Mehta was arguing in an appeal filed by the Centre and Delhi government against the Delhi High Court verdict which dismissed its plea against stay on the execution of the Nirbhaya case convicts.

"It's the system which is in question. The Supreme Court had upheld the death sentence of the four convicts in the case in 2017. But still I am struggling to get the sentence executed. This tells a lot about our system," Mehta said.

The bench issued notices to all the four convicts in the case on the Centre's plea and sought their response by February 13.

It also granted liberty to the authorities to approach the trial court for issuance of fresh date of the execution of these convicts.

The top court made it clear that the pendency of the appeal filed by the Centre and Delhi government before it would not be an impediment for the trial court in issuing fresh date for execution of the convicts.

On December 6, last year, four accused in the gang rape and murder of woman veterinarian were killed in a police encounter on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

The Telangana Police had said the accused were killed in an exchange of fire.

The incident had taken place around 6.30 am when the accused were taken to the site of offence for the reconstruction of the scene of crime as part of the investigation.

The four accused were shot dead on NH-44 near Hyderabad -- the same highway where the 27-year-old veterinarian's charred body was found.

The names of accused who were killed in the encounter are Mohammed Arif, Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu, Jolu Shiva and Jollu Naveen.