The four convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape case

New Delhi: The Delhi government informed the High Court on Wednesday that the execution of the four Nirbhaya convicts will not take place on January 22, as one of them filed a mercy petition.

Mukesh Singh, one of the convicts, filed the petition on Tuesday. Even after it is rejected, a convict has to be given 14 days’ notice before execution. The High Court refused to hear his petition challenging the death warrant, asking him to approach the trial court.

A bench of Justice Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal said there is no error in trial court’s January 7 order issuing death warrant against convict Mukesh Kumar Singh.

The four convicts — Mukesh Kumar (32), Vinay Sharma (26), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) — were to be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar Jail.

Lawyers of Mukesh told the bench that they will move sessions court against the death warrant after the high court said it was not inclined to interfere in the matter and that the petitioner should have moved that sessions court or the Supreme Court.

The bench was informed by the Delhi government and the Centre that the petition filed by Mukesh, challenging his death warrant, was premature.

None of the four convicts can be executed on January 22 unless the mercy plea is decided, the court was told.

The 23-year-old victim was gang-raped and tortured on December 16, 2012, which later led to her death. All the six accused were arrested and charged with sexual assault and murder. One of the accused, a minor, appeared before a juvenile justice court, while another committed suicide in Tihar Jail.

Four of the convicts were sentenced to death by a trial court in September 2013. It was confirmed by the Delhi High Court in March 2014 and upheld by the Supreme Court in May 2017, which also dismissed their review petitions.

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