The Bombay High Court Tuesday reserved its judgment on petitions filed by two convicts in the 2007 Pune BPO gang rape and murder case seeking stay on the execution of their death warrant.
Convicts Purushottam Borate and Pradeep Kokade were to be executed on June 24.
The HC last week, however, said the execution shall not take place as scheduled until further orders.
In their petitions filed last month, the duo sought a stay on the ground that there has been an inordinate delay in deciding their mercy petitions by the Maharashtra Governor and the President, as well as in issuance of the warrants for execution of the death penalty.
They also sought for the death penalty to be commuted to life imprisonment.
A division bench headed by Justice B P Dharmadhikari Tuesday reserved judgment after hearing counsels of both the petitioners and the state and union governments.
The state government, seeking dismissal of the petitions, said while considering the rights of the convicts, the rights of the victim’s family and the collective conscience of the society will also have to be kept in mind.
The convicts’ petitions have claimed the “inordinate delay” in executing them violated their fundamental rights.
“Excessive and unexplained delay of over four years (1509 days) in execution of the sentence of death causes unnecessary and unavoidable pain, suffering and mental torment that constitutes cruel and unusual punishment violative of Article 21 (Right to Life),” the duo said in the petitions.
A sessions court in Pune had on April 10 this year issued warrants setting June 24 as the date of execution.
In March 2012, the duo was convicted and awarded death penalty by a Pune sessions court for kidnapping, raping and murdering a BPO employee in 2007.
The victim, a Wipro BPO employee, got into the regular cab contracted by the company to report for her night duty on November 1, 2007 in a Pune suburb.
Cab driver Borate, accompanied by his friend Kokade, changed the route and took her to a remote place where she was raped and killed by the two, and her face disfigured to conceal her identity.
In September 2012, the High Court confirmed the punishment and the verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court in May 2015.
The Governor rejected their mercy petitions in April 2016 and the President in May 2017.