The four men sentenced to death for the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old in 2012 cannot be executed on January 22, a Delhi judge ruled on Thursday on a request by one of the convicts to put his execution on hold.
The judge put off the case after hearing the state and the convict's lawyer for nearly an hour, ruling that the law was clear that there should be a 14-day gap between the rejection of a death-row convict's mercy petition and his execution.
Mukesh Singh, one of the four who was convicted for the gang rape and murder of the paramedic student on a cold December night, had petitioned the court to stay the death warrant signed by a court that ordered Tihar jail authorities to hang him at 7 am on January 22.
Lawyer Vrinda Grover, who represented Mukesh Singh, told the judge that Tihar officials had flouted the law that requires prison officials to report the receipt of a mercy petition to the court that issues the death warrant.
Grover complained that the Tihar jail officials hadn't given her access to some specific documents that she needed to file a mercy petition too. She said the jail authorities neither responded to her request nor agreed to sign her application on the absence of documents.
"I am being left to wolves who do not know or respect the law of the land," she said.