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Legal options that may delay execution of death penalty to Nirbhaya rapists

The main question is when the death penalty will be executed, public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said

ANI  |  Ahmednagar 

Nirbhaya's parents talk on phone at the Supreme Court in New Delhi on Friday. The apex court has confirmed death sentence for the four convicts of Nirbhaya gang rape case who raped and tortured the 23-year-old medical student on a moving bus in Delhi
Nirbhaya's parents talk on the phone at the Supreme Court in New Delhi on Friday. Photo: PTI

Welcoming the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the death penalty of four convicts involved in the gang rape case, Maharashtra's public prosecutor on Friday, however, expressed his apprehensions about top court's order being challenged.

Nikam said the convicts still have the option of approaching the President and can file a mercy petition asking him to revoke the order.

"I welcome the decision of the Supreme Court, but the main question is when the death penalty will be executed. According to our law, every criminal, that is the condemned prisoner, has a right to challenge to file a mercy petition before the President of India, and unfortunately, our Constitution is silent as to when the President should take the decision on such mercy petitions," Nikam said.

He also highlighted that a delay in issuing a mercy petition can convert the death penalty case to one of life imprisonment.

"I have come across a number of cases wherein though the Supreme Court has awarded the death penalty and the condemned prisoner had filed a mercy petition before the President and since there was a delay in giving such mercy petition the Supreme Court or the High Court has converted the said death penalty to life imprisonment," Nikam said.

Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir has also welcomed the verdict given by the Supreme Court.

The apex court earlier today upheld the conviction and death penalty of four convicts' -- Mukesh, Akshay, Pawan and Vinay awarded to them by the Delhi High Court on December 16, 2012.

The matter was heard by the bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra after the convicts challenged the Court order.

However, AP Singh, the lawyer for the accused, claimed that he would file the after reading the order.

"Justice is not done. We will file after reading the order. You cannot give a death sentence to anyone for a message to the nation. The meaning of punishment is an improvement. There is a right to live. In this, the human rights have been neglected, Mahatma Gandhi's ideology has been neglected," Singh said.

First Published: Sat, May 06 2017. 16:53 IST