Nirbhaya rape case: Convicts to hang on March 20, rules Delhi court

All options at the convicts' disposal have been exhausted after Indian President Ram Nath Kovind rejected the mercy petition of convict, Pawan Gupta

Web Desk

The four convicts who were found guilty of raping and killing a 23-year-old medical student, Jyoti Singh dubbed Nirbhaya, in Delhi seven years ago will hang on March 20, ruled a Delhi court on Thursday.

This is the fourth death warrant issued by a Delhi court, a day after Indian President Ram Nath Kovind rejected the mercy petition of Pawan Gupta, the last of the four convicts. This means that the convicts cannot avail any relief after the president's rejection of the mercy plea.

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rana set the date of the convicts' hanging on March 20. The convicts' lawyer argued that there was no legal impediment for the court to fix the date of their execution.

Authorities hoped that the guilty will be executed on March 20 and the date will not be further extended. Nirbhaya's mother, Asha Devi, hoped for the same. "I hope this is the final date and they would be hanged on March 20. While dying Nirbhaya asked to ensure they get such punishment that such crime is not repeated ever," she said.

Thousands of Indians had come out in protest against Nirbhaya's rape-and-murder when on December 16, 2012, six men gang-raped her in a bus when she was travelling with her friend Awindra Pratap Pandey and tortured her with an iron rod. One of the accused, Ram Singh, hanged himself in jail while another was sentenced to serve three years in reform school as he was short of 18 when the crime was committed. 

The court had earlier dismissed an application to stay the execution of Akshay Thakur, 31, Pawan Gupta, 25, Vinay Sharma, 26, and Mukesh Singh, 32, who had filed petitions challenging their death sentence.

The four convicts were to be hanged on Tuesday at 6:00 am but the Patiala House court had refused to hold the execution.