A Delhi court Monday deferred till further order the hanging of four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder convict.
Hanging of the four convicts was scheduled for Tuesday at 6 AM.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana said the death sentence cannot be executed pending disposal of mercy petition of convict Pawan Kumar Gupta.
The court passed the order on Pawan’s plea seeking to stay the execution as he has filed a mercy petition before the President on Monday.
Additional Session Judge Dharmender Rana, while reserving judgement on Pawan’s fresh plea to stay the death warrant for Tuesday morning, rapped the convict’s lawyer for acting so late in filing the curative and mercy pleas.
Pawan’s curative plea was rejected by the Supreme Court earlier in the day.
The trial court had earlier in the day dismissed Pawan’s and Akshay Kumar Singh’s applications for staying their death warrants.
However, Pawan’s lawyer, AP Singh, said he has filed a mercy plea and execution ought to be stayed. The court, thereafter, asked him to come post lunch to argue his case.
In the post-lunch hearing, the court pulled up Singh saying, “You are playing with fire, you should be cautious” and added “one wrong move by anybody, and you know the consequences”.
Tihar authorities, during the hearing, said the ball is in the government’s court, after filing of the mercy petition, and the judge has no role for now.
They said the President will seek a status report from the jail on Pawan’s mercy plea and when that happens, it will suo motu stay the execution.