A Delhi court today reserved its order on an application of three death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case seeking a stay on their execution on February 1.
Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana reserved the order after completion of hearing of arguments of the Tihar jail authorities and the convicts' lawyer.
Tihar Jail authorities had said only one convict's plea in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case is pending, which means the other three convicts can be hanged. It challenged the application seeking stay on execution filed by the three prisoners in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case.
Multiple petitions have been filed by the four men in their attempts to stall their execution, set for tomorrow at 6 am.
The hangman arrived yesterday at Tihar jail in Delhi, where the convicts Pawan Gupta, Mukesh Singh, Akshay Singh and Vinay Sharma are to be hanged.
The convicts' lawyer, however, disagreed with the jail authorities who filed a status report before Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana, and said rules dictate that when one convict's plea is pending the others cannot be hanged.
Advocate AP Singh, representing three death row convicts -- Pawan Gupta, Vinay Kumar Sharma and Akshay Kumar -- urged the court to adjourn the executions "sine die" (with no appointed date for resumption).
Vinay Kumar's mercy plea before the President is pending.
The prison authorities opposed the plea and said only one convict's mercy plea is pending while others can be hanged.
"When one convict's plea is pending, others cannot be hanged as per rules," Lawyer AP Singh said.
The fourth person sentenced to death in the case is Mukesh Kumar, whose mercy plea was dismissed by President Ram Nath Kovind on January 17. The appeal against the rejection was denied by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The trial court on January 17 issued black warrants for the second time for the execution of all the four convicts in the case in Tihar jail at 6 am on February 1. Earlier, on January 7, the court had fixed January 22 as the hanging date.
The curative petitions of Vinay and Akshay have been rejected by the court. Pawan Gupta is the only one yet to file a curative plea.
Convicts have the option of moving a mercy petition before the president only after the top court dismisses their curative plea.
On Thursday, the Delhi court issued notice to the jail authorities seeking their response on the plea of the death row convicts seeking stay on their executions.
On December 16, 2012, the young woman who came to be known as "Nirbhaya" was gang-raped by six men on a moving bus, tortured with an iron rod and thrown off the vehicle. She died on December 29.
The savage assault stunned the nation and angry protesters filled the streets in their demand for justice.
Of the six men, one was found hanging in jail. The youngest, just short of 18 when the crime was committed, was released after three years in a reform home.