A Delhi court on Friday stayed the February 1 execution of convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case. The order, passed by Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana, states that the execution cannot take place until the court pronounces its next order. Hearing about the verdict, Nirbhaya's mother Asha Devi broke into tears at the continued delay in execution. "The lawyer of the convicts, AP Singh has challenged me saying that the convicts will never be executed. I will continue my fight. The government will have to execute the convicts."
Advocate A P Singh, representing the convicts -- Pawan Gupta, Vinay Kumar Sharma and Akshay Kumar -- had urged the court to adjourn the executions "sine die" (with no appointed date for resumption).
The Tihar jail authorities challenged the application of three condemned prisoners in the case seeking a stay on their execution. The convicts' lawyer, however, disagreed with the jail authorities and said rules dictate that when one convict's plea is pending the others cannot be hanged.
The trial court on January 17 issued black warrants for the second time for the execution of all the four convicts in the case in Tihar jail at 6 am on February 1. Earlier, on January 7, the court had fixed January 22 as the hanging date.
Vinay's mercy plea before the president is pending. Mukesh mercy plea was dismissed by President Ram Nath Kovind on January 17. The appeal against the rejection was thrown out by the Supreme Court on Wednesday. The curative petitions of Vinay and Akshay have been rejected by the apex court. Pawan is the only one yet not to file a curative plea. Convicts have the option of moving a mercy petition before the president only after the apex court dismisses their curative plea.
Earlier on Friday, hangman Pawan Jallad conducted a dummy execution of the Nirbhaya case convicts at Tihar jail premises. Pawan Jallad had reported to the Tihar jail on Thursday.