In the last effort, Vinay Kumar Sharma, one of the four men sentenced to death in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case, filed a curative petition in the Supreme Court on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora issued death warrants – also known as black warrants – against Mukesh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and said they will be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar jail.
The only legal remedy the convicts were left with was to approach the Supreme Court with curative petitions to seek relief from capital punishment. The convicts can also avail the constitutional remedy of filing mercy pleas with the President. After the court delivered the verdict, it gave the convicts two weeks to file curative and mercy pleas.
Advocates for the convicts said they will soon approach the apex court with the curative petitions and will also seek a stay on the death warrants till the disposal of the curative plea.
“We will file a curative petition in Supreme Court within a day or two. Five senior-most judges of SC will hear it. There has been the pressure of media, public and political pressure in this case since the beginning. An unbiased probe could not take place in this case,” the lawyer of the convicts had reportedly said after the verdict was pronounced.
Ram Singh, one of the six accused in the Nirbhaya case, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail. A juvenile, who was among the accused, was convicted by a juvenile justice board and was released from a reformation home after serving a three-year term.
The death warrant against the four convicts earlier this week was addressed to the Tihar jail chief. "We have received the court order and will plan the execution of the four accordingly. Three of the accused are in Jail No. 2 and the fourth one is in Jail No. 4. Now they will be put in isolated cells and won't be allowed to have any interaction with other prisoners," Tihar jail sources told PTI.
The sources said in all likelihood the four men will be hanged simultaneously amid reports that a new gallows frame is being readied for this purpose.
The Supreme Court in 2017 upheld the capital punishment awarded to the four men by the Delhi High Court and the trial court.
With PTI inputs