Delhi court on Tuesday issued a death warrant for the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case. The verdict comes during the hearing of a plea seeking the issuance of ‘black warrant’ against the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case. The convicts will be hanged on January 22 at 7 am. The Supreme Court had confirmed the death penalty awarded to one of the four convicts, Akshay in the gruesome case after it dismissed his plea which sought a review of its 2017 judgment. The Supreme Court said the review petition was not “re-hearing of appeal over and over again” and it had already considered the mitigating and aggravating circumstances while upholding the death penalty. With the December 18 verdict, the review petitions of all the four death row convicts stood dismissed. On July 9 last year, the top court had dismissed the review pleas filed by the other three convicts — Mukesh (32), Pawan Gupta (25) and Vinay Sharma (26) — in the case, saying no grounds have been made out by them for the review. LEGAL RECOURSE FOR ACCUSED? The death warrant does not mean that the legal options for the four accused in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case have been exhausted. The four convicts can still file pleas against the death warrant. They have the option of filing a curative plea in the SC as well as a mercy plea before the President. A curative petition is the last legal recourse available to a convict and it is generally considered in-chamber. Convict Akshay Kumar Singh had filed a review petition against the 2017 judgment of the Supreme Court, which the Supreme Court dismissed on Wednesday. With this verdict on the plea of convict Akshay Kumar Singh, the review petitions of all the four death row convicts in the case stood dismissed by the Supreme Court. The convicts’ lawyer AP Singh has said that they will be filing a curative petition in the Supreme Court. Speaking to media, he said, “We will file a curative petition in the Supreme Court within a day or two. The five senior-most judges of SC will hear it. There has been pressure from the media, the public as well as political pressure in this case since the very beginning. An unbiased probe could not take place in this case.” FAITH IN LAW RESTORED Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi hailed the verdict and said the order will restore the faith of women in law. She said, “My daughter has got justice. Execution of the four convicts will empower the women of the country. This decision will strengthen the trust of people in the judicial system.” Her father Badrinath Singh also expressed his happiness, ” I am happy with the court’s decision. The convicts will be hanged at 7 am on 22nd January; This decision will instil fear in people who commit such crimes.” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also said that the death sentence will act as a deterrent. Speaking to India Today TV reporters at the AAP townhall organised in Delhi’s Connaught Place, Arvind Kejriwal said, “It will be a big lesson for all. Whoever abuses women will get a lesson from this. Nirbhaya’s parents and all of us were waiting for this news. Justice has finally been served.” Delhi Commission for Women Swati Maliwal also celebrated the decision but called for fast-tracking of the legal process. “Strongly welcome this decision. It is a win for all the ‘Nirbhayas’ living in this country. I salute Nirbhaya’s parents who fought for seven long years. Why has it taken seven years to punish these people? Why can’t this time period be reduced?” she asked. Echoing the sentiment, president of All India Mahila Congress said, “Nirbhaya has gotten justice. In an open and shut case like Nirbhaya’s if it can take seven years, then, what happens in other cases where evidence is not clear? It calls for introspection on part of the political class and legal community to see where the problem lies and why should it take so long.” WHAT IS BLACK WARRANT The black warrant is that piece of paper that initiates the procedure for executing a person who has been sentenced to die. The black warrant, which is part of the Code of Criminal Procedure, lists the time and place the execution must take place. COURT DISMISSES PLEA SEEKING FIR AGAINST SOLE WITNESS A Delhi court had on Monday dismissed a complaint filed by the father of one of the four death row convicts in the 2012 case, seeking an FIR against the sole witness in the matter for allegedly giving interviews to news channels after charging money. The sole eyewitness, a friend of the 23-year-old victim, was accompanying her when the gruesome incident took place and he had also sustained injuries. The complaint, filed by Heera Lal Gupta, father of Pawan Kumar Gupta, had cited media reports which alleged that witness charged money to appear for interviews on various news channels, his advocate had said. The lawyer told the court that a complaint was filed with the Delhi Police to lodge an FIR in this regard. However, no action was taken. THE FIGHT FOR JUSTICE In December last year, Nirbhaya’s parents had approached the court to fast-track the procedure to hang all four convicts in the case. The Supreme Court on December 12, 2018, dismissed a PIL seeking direction to the Centre to execute the death penalty awarded to the four convicts — Mukesh, Pawan, Vinay and Akshay. Nirbhaya is the changed name of the December 2012 gang rape-cum-murder victim, a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who was raped and brutalised in a moving bus in South Delhi by six people. The woman had boarded the nearly vacant bus in Munirka in South Delhi along with her male friend on her way back home on December 16 that year. After raping and brutalising the woman and beating her friend, the assailants had thrown them out of the bus. After receiving initial treatment in New Delhi for a few days, she was shifted to the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, where she succumbed to injuries on December 29, 2012.