Nirbhaya case: HC declines plea for NHRC to assess physical, mental health of 4 death row convicts

The Delhi High Court declined to entertain a plea seeking directions to the NHRC to intervene and enquire into the mental and physical state of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case.

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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday declined to entertain a plea seeking directions to the NHRC to intervene and enquire into the mental and physical state of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case. A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said the petition was not maintainable as it should have been first filed in the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Asking the petitioner to move the NHRC, the bench disposed of his plea.

The petitioner, advocate A Rajarajan, had claimed that the four convicts -- Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Kumar Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) -- have been kept in solitary confinement under fear of death "on the whims and fancies" of the authorities and it can affect their mental stability. The petition had also referred to the allegations that the four were facing physical abuse in the prison. It had also claimed that the authorities acted contrary to law by not initiating process to execute death sentence of the four convicts after the expiry of 30 days from the dismissal of their appeals by the Supreme Court in May 2017.

On January 7 death warrants were issued for the first time in the case to execute the four on January 22. However, on January 17 the trial court changed the date of execution to February 1 after one of them -- Mukesh -- moved a mercy plea before the President. Subsequently, on January 31 the trial court put on hold the execution after two more -- Akshay and Vinay -- moved mercy pleas. Thereafter, on February 17 the trial court set March 3 as the date of execution of the four.


On March 2, the executions were put on hold for the third time as Pawan had moved a mercy plea, which was rejected on Wednesday. A 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who came to be known as 'Nirbhaya' (fearless), was gang-raped and savagely assaulted on the night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in south Delhi. She died of her injuries a fortnight later in a Singapore hospital.
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