It has been seven years since the ill-fated night that involved the gang rape and fatal assault of a 23-year-old female in Delhi. The family of the victim has made every effort to seek justice despite the challenges that came their way. The first date of execution, January 22, was postponed to February 1. Since then, the 4 convicts have been filing various petitions to delay the execution. They were able to postpone the execution order for the second time.
Enraged at Nirbhaya Convicts Mocking Justice System: Smriti Irani
Union Minister Smriti Irani said on March 7 she was “enraged” that the death-row convicts were making a “mockery of justice” by their delaying tactics and asserted that urgent steps were required to stop it. “We need to go a step forward, especially with regard to the conviction rates,” she said.
“The fact that rapists can throw caution to the winds, the fact that they can laugh in the face of justice is a fact that enrages me no end,” she said inaugurating a national conference on women in police and Central Armed Police Forces, organized by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD). The Union Women and Child Development Minister said urgent steps are needed to ensure that such a “mockery of justice” does not take place any more.
Delay tactic to avoid execution: Nirbhaya's mother on convict’s plea in Supreme Court
Asha Devi, the mother of 2012 Delhi gang-rape victim, talked about the petitions being filed by the convicts and called it a “tactic to delay the execution”.
Speaking to a news agency about the petition of one of the convicts, Asha Devi said, “It is just a tactic to delay the execution. His petition was cancelled in 2013 by the Supreme Court. The review petition was also dismissed by the court. He's doing it just to waste time.”
Read Also: Nirbhaya Rape Case: Complete Case Analysis
Various Petitions Filed by the Convicts throughout the Case to Delay Execution
The second round mercy pleas of two convicts, Akshay Kumar Singh and Pawan Gupta, were not entertained by the SC and were rejected on the grounds that the first one was entertained and considered on merit.
The convicts further requested that their execution be stopped, claiming that they still had some legal remedies left. However, Public Prosecutor Irfan Ahmad told the Court that no legal remedies remain for the convicts. The death-row convicts Pawan and Akshay's second mercy petition was also not entertained by the President of India.
The Supreme Court also rejected the curative petition moved by death row convict, Pawan Gupta against the Court's earlier verdict rejecting his claim that he was a juvenile at the time of the offence.
Another convict, Mukesh Singh had moved the top court challenging a Delhi court order that had dismissed his plea, seeking a stay on the execution claiming he was not present in Delhi on December 16, 2012, the night of the crime.
Nirbhaya Convict's Wife Moves to Court for Divorce
The wife of Akshay Kumar Singh, one of the convicts in the case, has filed for a divorce in a local court in Bihar's Aurangabad. In the plea, the wife of convict Akshay Kumar Singh has said she does not want to live the life of a widow as her husband is set to be hanged on March 20.
The court has posted the matter for March 19. Punita, Akshaya's wife, has said, “My husband is innocent. I want to be legally divorced before he is hanged.” The convicts have even approached the international court and India's Human Rights Commission.
The Gang-rape Convicts have “Lost their appetite” and spend their time watching “Bollywood films” on the TV they have access to- A Tihar jail official said.
“They have gone quiet and have not been eating well. All they do is watch Bollywood movies on the TV they have access to,” a Tihar jail official told a news outlet.
“They have also been monitoring the news on television to see how the courts, the outside world, and their families, are reacting to the news of their hanging,” he added.
The Tihar jail official said that the four have been advised against watching the news as that could affect their health, “but they insist”. He added that their health was fine and they are being monitored by the doctors regularly.
“They have not yet made any special demands. Their families have been coming to visit. Only Akshay’s family has not come for the ‘akhri mulaqat’ (last meeting), but they are expected to come on Thursday,” he said.
Image Courtsey: theweek.in
4 Nirbhaya Convicts to Hang on March 20th, Delhi Court Rejects All Petitions.
On March 5, a trial court issued fresh black warrants for the execution of all the four convicts in the nirbhaya rape case – Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay (26) and Akshay (31) – in Tihar Jail at 5.30 am on March 20.
Legal experts feel that there is no chance of any further delay since their delay tactics have led to two postponements already. All formalities have now been completed and the convicts have exhausted all legal and constitutional remedies. The hanging is scheduled to take place as scheduled.
Hanging Rehearsals have been Completed.
Hangman Pawan has been carrying out the rehearsals along with other prison staff. At Tihar Jail from the past three days. Pawan has even “trained” a few jail officials to carry out the hanging, in case anything goes wrong at the last minute.
A source from Tihar jail talked about the hanging and said that there will be two levers that will have to be pulled to hang the four convicts, and hangman Pawan will do that one after another at the gap of five seconds. He will be paid Rs 20,000 for the execution, the source said.
“Pawan will hang all four convicts together. He will pull the two levers one after the other within seconds,” the source said. “He has, however, trained a few jail officials for the same, in case they are needed at the last minute.”
To accommodate four persons, Tihar authorities have got the platform renovated to make it sturdy and the well in which the bodies will fall, too, has been deepened and widened. The well is usually 15 to 20 feet deep. The execution will take place in the phansi kotha inside jail number 3.
The phansi kotha is also the place where the bodies of Afzal Guru and Kashmir separatist leader Maqbool Bhat are buried.
The Day of the Hanging.
A Tihar Jail Official explained the process that will be followed on the day of the hanging.
- On the morning of the execution, the jail superintendent will ensure that all formalities regarding the execution are completed. The convicts will be brought out and they will be taken to the scaffold under the charge of the deputy superintendent and guarded by the head warder and six warders.
- Once the prisoners reach the scaffold, a cotton cap with a flap will be placed on their heads just before they enter the gallows
- The men will then be escorted to the noose and will be placed directly under the beam to which a rope is attached. Following this, they will be handed over to the hangman, who will strap their legs tightly together and adjust the ropes tightly around their necks.
- The superintendent will then check if the rope around the necks of the prisoners is adjusted properly and the knot placed in the proper position.
- After a signal from the superintendent, the executioner will draw the bolt.
- The jail manual says that this entire operation should be done “simultaneously and quickly as possible”.
- After this, the superintendent will give the final signal to the hangman to push the lever to release the trap-door and hang the men.
- According to rules, the bodies will remain suspended for half-an-hour before they are taken down or until the resident medical officer has certified that “life is extinct”.
- Once the men are executed and their bodies will be taken out of the gallows, they will be sent for a post-mortem examination.
- According to the jail manual, the bodies will then be disposed of following the requirements of the religion to which the executed prisoner belonged.
Justice will Finally be Served!
After seven long years of battle against the rapists in the nirbhaya rape case, justice will finally be served on March 20th. We can only hope that the hanging of the convicts will bring peace to Nirbhaya's soul and give a sense of closure to the victim’s family who fought this legal battle relentlessly and remained strong over the years.