SC, Constitution don't prescribe time for execution: Nirbhaya convicts' lawyer tells Delhi HC

New Delhi [India], Feb 2 (ANI): There is no prescribed time given to execute the death sentence by the Supreme Court and the Constitution, advocate AP Singh, appearing on behalf of three of death row convicts in Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case, told the Delhi High Court on Sunday.

A single-judge bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait is hearing a plea moved by the Central government and the Tihar Jail authorities challenging the stay on the execution of Nirbhaya convicts, which was earlier scheduled to take place on February 1.

"There is no prescribed time given to execute the death sentence by the Supreme Court and the Constitution. Only in the case of mercy petition, when it is dismissed, 14 days time is given as per the Shatrugan Singh Chauhan judgement," Singh told the court.

Advocate Singh, who is appearing for convicts Pawan Gupta, Akshay Thakur and Vinay Sharma, asked: "Why there was a hurry to execute the death sentence in this case only ... Justice hurried is justice buried."

"They (convicts) belong to rural areas and Dalit families. They come to Delhi and get implicated. Mukesh and Ram Singh are Dalits. Both are brothers who came from a rural part of Rajasthan. It is not convicts' fault. They cannot be made to bear brunt of ambiguity in the law," Singh said.

Senior advocate Rebecca John, appearing on behalf of convict Mukesh, said that the "Centre has sought the setting aside of the order of the Patiala House Court" when "an earlier Delhi High Court order has clearly said that any order of the trial court should be challenged in the Supreme Court only".

She said that the petition filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs is not maintainable before the Delhi High Court.

"I am making the submission that every death row convict, held guilty under heinous offence, has a right. No one can stop death row convicts from taking legal remedies. The Constitution allows me to apply for legal remedies," she added.

Earlier, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of the Centre, alleged that the convicts were deliberately delaying the execution, adding that any delay in death sentence will have a dehumanising effect on the convicts.

A Delhi court last week stayed till further orders the execution of the four convicts -- Akshay Thakur, Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, and Vinay Sharma -- which was earlier scheduled to take place on February 1.

The case pertains to the gang-rape and brutal murder of a 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus on the night of December 16, 2012, by six people, including a juvenile, in Delhi. The woman had died at a Singapore hospital a few days later.

One of the five adults accused, Ram Singh, had allegedly committed suicide in the Tihar Jail during the trial of the case. (ANI)