New Delhi: The Centre and the Delhi government on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court order holding that all four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case will be executed together and not individually. Both the governme-nts, however, challenged the order in the Supreme Court.
Holding that all four death row convicts in the case — Pawan Kumar Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26), Akshay Kumar (31) and Mukesh (32) — have to be executed together, the High Court directed the convicts to exhaust all their legal remedies in seven days, after which the authorities should act according to the law.
Both the Centre and the Delhi government moved the Delhi HC after a trial court stayed the execution of the death sentences following the mercy petition filed by one of the four convicts before the President.
In its ruling on Wednes-day, the High Court, however, faulted the authorities for not taking the necessary steps after the Sup-reme Court had upheld the death sentence of the four convicts in May 2017.
In apparent contrast to the urgency shown by the Centre and the Delhi government now in carrying out the sentence, Justice Suresh Kumar Kait said in his order: “I have no hesitation in saying that after the dismissal of the SLP (special leave petition) by the Supreme Court in May 2017, nobody took steps for issuance of death warrants for their execution.”
Justice Kait added: “All the authorities were sleeping, waiting for convict Akshay to file a review petition on December 9, 2019 challenging the Supr-eme Court verdict upholding his death penalty. His review plea was dismissed by the Supreme Court on December 18.”
Pointing to the brutality of the crime and the delaying tactics used by them to postpone execution of the death sentence, the High Court added referred to the “horrible, dreadful, cruel, abominable, ghastly, gruesome and heinous offence of rape of a young woman, which shook the conscience of the country”....