Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Wednesday, 18 December directed Tihar Jail authorities to issue notice to the Nirbhaya case convicts giving them one week to clarify the status of their mercy petitions.
The apex court was hearing a plea by the victim’s parents seeking expedience of issuance of death warrants against the four convicted in the case.
The case will next be heard on 7 January.
Earlier during the day, the apex court dismissed a review plea against death sentence forwarded by one of the convicts - Akshay Singh, which clears path for hearing of this plea.
In the last hearing on Friday, 13 December, the court had deferred the matter noting that Singh’s review petition was pending.
On Friday, urging the court to issue death warrants, the prosecution had said, "The court can issue death warrant, nothing prevents court from issuing death warrants." During the hearing, the parents of Nirbhaya told the court that the convicts were delaying their sentence.
Later, the convicts – Akshay Singh, Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma – were produced before the court through video conferencing in an in-chamber proceeding and the judge verified their identity.
According to court sources, Mukesh was not represented by a lawyer on Friday and the judge informed him that in absence of his counsel, the court would appoint a lawyer from him. The court informed the accused of the next date of hearing and adjourned the matter.
The apex court had on 9 July last year dismissed the review pleas filed by the three convicts – Mukesh, Pawan and Vinay – saying no grounds had been made out by them for review of the 2017 verdict.
Tihar Jail Asks UP for Two Hangmen
Meanwhile, amid speculations of the convicts being hanged soon, Tihar Jail in Delhi asked Uttar Pradesh to provide two hangmen on short notice on 11 December.
Uttar Pradesh's Additional Director General (Prisons) Anand Kumar told reporters on Thursday that the department is ready to provide the hangmen.
“There are no hangmen with the Tihar Jail administration for those who were awarded capital punishment and are not left with any constitutional and legal remedy," Kumar said.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)