NEW DELHI, March 5 - After three postponements in six weeks, a Delhi court on Thursday set March 20 as the fresh date for the execution of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case that has witnessed several twists and turns after they received the death sentence in 2013.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana directed that Mukesh Kumar Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Kumar Singh �be hanged by the neck until they are dead on March 20 at 5.30 am�. All the convicts in the case are to be hanged together in Tihar jail here. The order was pronounced after the lawyers for the Delhi government and the convicts submitted that the condemned prisoners have exhausted all their legal remedies.
AP Singh, the lawyer for the convicts, conceded that there was no legal impediment for the court in proceeding to fix the execution date.
�It is fairly conceded at bar by counsel of convict as well as public prosecutor (appearing for the State) that as of now, there is statutory no bar in exercise of power under 413/414 (issuing death warrant) of the CrPC, rather it is obligatory on the part of the court to discharge the duties cast upon it under the relevant provisions.
Nirbhaya�s mother Asha Devi said their struggle would continue till the time they are hanged and hoped that March 20 will be the final date of hanging. �The morning of March 20 will be the morning of our lives,� Devi told reporters.
She said if there is any chance, she would want to see the convicts dying. �While dying Nirbhaya asked to ensure they get such punishment that such crime is not repeated ever. If there is any chance, I would like to see them die.�
The new date for the hanging was fixed even as the Supreme Court said it would examine on March 23 the legal issue arising out of the Nirbhaya case on whether there could be separate hanging in a common crime where there are more than one death row convicts.
�The question is whether there can be separate hanging or whether it has to be simultaneous. We will go into it,� said a three-judge bench headed by Justice R Banumathi against the backdrop of the contention by the Centre that the hanging of convicts for a common crime can be carried out separately as and when each one exhaust their legal remedies.
The move by the apex court is not expected to have any bearing on the execution of the four death row convicts on March 20 since they have exhausted all legal remedies. � PTI