Before filing a mercy petition before the President, the Nirbhaya case convicts will move the Supreme Court, which has upheld their death penalty, their lawyers told IANS.
The decision was taken in a meeting between the convicts and their lawyers in Tihar Jail on Friday, after the Tihar jail administration issued a notice to all four on October 28 saying that they had seven days to file a mercy petition to the President. “If they fail to do so, the jail administration will try to get the death warrant issued from the trial court,” it had said.
A lawyer said: “We will consider the notice of the jail afterwards but before that, we have an option to move the Supreme Court. Apart from this, looking at the current scenario, this is the best thing to do.”
All the four convicts received the notice and until Friday afternoon, no action had been taken on it.
On Friday at around 3.30 p.m., the lawyer of Akshay Kumar Singh – lodged in Jail no 2 and Vinay Kumar Sharma – lodged in Jail no 3 reached Tihar jail to meet them whereas the lawyer of Pawan Kumar Gupta – lodged in Mandoli jail met him at Jail no 14.
Senior lawyer Ajay Prakash Singh, who represents Singh and Sharma, confirmed that that the lawyers met their convicted clients on Friday between 3.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.
It was decided after the meeting only that they won’t file a mercy petition before the President at the first go.
They also decided to call the wife of Akshay to Delhi immediately. Akshay’s father-in-law died last week itself so his wife will reach Delhi after the last rituals will be performed. After taking the affidavit from Akshay’s wife, the lawyer will move the apex court with a review petition.
Singh said: “Out of all the convicts, only Akshay Singh’s review petition has not been filed with the Supreme Court.”
“Since the Supreme Court has rejected the review petition of Pawan Kumar Gupta and Vinay Kumar Sharma, we will file a ‘curative petition’ on their behalf. It is the right of the convicts,” he added.
Singh said that the notice issued by the jail administration is “political”. He said, “Why did jail administration issued the notice when Delhi is all set for Assembly elections? Not only this, the matter related to the age of Pawan Kumar Gupta, lodged in Mandoli jail, is under consideration with the High Court. Despite all this, why was the jail administration in a hurry to issue the notice?”
On the notice to the prisoners, Director General of Prison Sandeep Goyal told IANS that it “has been issued under the law so that the condemned don’t forget to file a mercy petition to the President. This is the duty of the jail administration”.
On the lawyers’ strategy, retired Delhi High Court judge, Justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra, told IANS that it “is always better to file a review petition before the bench which awarded the punishment”.
“The judges who awarded the punishment to the convicts might have retired. In these circumstances, how fruitful it will be to file a review petition?” he asked.