The Supreme Court on 25th February deferred the hearing of the Centre’s plea to separately execute the death sentence of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya case, to March 5.
“List the matters on March 5 at 3 pm,” a three Bench led by Justice R Banumathi said.
The apex court had already made it clear on February 14 that pendency of the Centre’s appeal seeking permission to execute the four convicts would not prevent the trial court from fixing a fresh date for their execution.
At the beginning of the session, the bench was informed that the trial court has fixed the execution of all the four convicts for March 3 at 6 a.m.
The court has decided to watch the unfolding of events in the next few days instead of hearing arguments on the legality of separately executing the convicts before the legal remedies available to their co-convicts are exhausted. If the four convicts are executed on March 3, the appeal would turn out to be infructuous on March 5, the court reasoned.
On February 17 the trial court issued fresh date for execution of the four convicts—Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar (31), for March 3 at 6 am.
The mercy petitions of Mukesh, Vinay and Akshay have already been dismissed by the President while the fourth convict Pawan Gupta is still left to file a curative petition in the Supreme Court. He has also not filed his mercy petition before the President.
Mukesh and Vinay had filed pleas before the SC challenging the rejection of their mercy petitions, which were dismissed by the top court earlier. Akshay has not challenged the rejection of his mercy petition yet.