A Delhi Court on Thursday issued fresh death warrants against all four convicts in the Nirbhaya rape case. The convicts are now slated to be hanged at 5.30 am on March 20.
Following the court's decision, Nirbhaya's mother, Asha Devi expressed her hope that this time the convicts would be hanged till death on the designated date "since the four convicts have exhausted all the legal remedies".
The news comes a day after the President rejected convict Pawan Gupta's mercy plea.
Earlier, on Monday the the Supreme Court had rejected a curative petition filed by him that had sought to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment. His application seeking a stay on the execution had also been rejected.
Soon after, Gupta had filed the mercy plea. He was the last of the four convicts to file the same.
Advocate AP Singh, appearing for the convicts, however sought more time claiming that another mercy petition of a convict -- Vinay Singh Thakur -- is pending before the President.
While his mercy plea had been rejected earlier, a "complete" mercy petition of convict Akshay Singh Thakur was recently filed claiming that the previous one, which was turned down by the President on February 5, did not have "complete facts".
This is the fourth time the Delhi court has given a date for the hanging. Originally scheduled for January 22, it had then been changed to February 1, and then to March 3. The four convicts had exercised the legal remedies available to them in a staggered manner, thus creating a delay.
Two of the convicts have also gone a step beyond the mercy plea, challenging the President's rejection of their petitions. The Supreme Court had rejected their petitions.
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The case deals with the gang rape, assault and subsequent death of a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern in Delhi. She was dubbed as 'Nirbhaya'.
While six people had been arrested for the cirme, one of the accused committed suicide in Tihar Jail during the trial. Another, being a juvenile at the time of the crime, was released in 2015 after spending three years in a correctional home. The other four were convicted and sentenced to death.
(With inputs from agencies)