Convict Mukesh Singh Moves Mercy Plea (Photo Credit: FIle Image)
Mukesh Singh, one of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case, filed a mercy plea before the President of India on Tuesday, prison officials said, shortly after the Supreme Court refused to stay his scheduled execution. Mukesh has also moved to Delhi High Court seeking stay on the death warrant issued by a trial court citing his pending mercy plea. The court is expected to hear the matter on Wednesday.
Earlier on Tuesday, Supreme Court refused to stay the execution of two of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case while dismissing their curative petitions against their conviction and capital punishment. The four convicts Vinay Sharma (26), Mukesh Kumar (32), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) - are scheduled to be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar jail according to their death warrants issued on January 7.
Director General (Prisons) Sandeep Goel said Mukesh moved the mercy plea in the evening after his curative petition - and that of Vinay - was dismissed by the apex court. His plea against the death warrant in Delhi High Court is listed for hearing on Wednesday before a bench of Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal. The petition, filed through advocate Vrinda Grover, seeks setting aside of the January 7 order issuing warrant of his execution. The plea also states that on Tuesday he also moved mercy petitions before the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and the President of India.
Meanwhile, jail authorities are going ahead with the preparations for the jailed execution. According to jail sources, Pawan Jallad from Meerut, who will carry out the hanging, will reach Tihar jail on January 20 and will reside inside the premises. He will be given Rs 15,000 per execution, they said. A dummy execution will be carried on January 21 evening as well.
A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court, during in-chamber proceedings, rejected the curative petitions filed by Vinay and Mukesh. "The applications for oral hearing are rejected. The applications for stay of execution of death sentence are also rejected," a bench, headed by Justice N V Ramana, said in its order. We have gone through the curative petitions and the relevant documents. In our opinion, no case is made out within the parameters indicated in the decision of this court in Rupa Ashok Hurra vs Ashok Hurra & another, reported in 2002 (4) SCC 388.
"Hence, the curative petitions are dismissed," said the bench, also comprising Justices Arun Mishra, R F Nariman, R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan. A curative petition is the last and final legal remedy available to a person. The five judges were unanimous that there was no merit in the curative petitions filed by the two convicts, Vinay and Mukesh, on January 9. The other two convicts, Akshay and Pawan have not filed curative petitions yet.
Soon after the top court dismissed the curative pleas of the two convicts, the Nirbhaya's mother Asha Devi said: "Today is a big day for me because I have been struggling for seven years, till date. Today is a big day for me but the biggest day would be January 22 when the four would be hanged."
"I hope that the other remedies available to them would be similarly rejected in future and they will be hanged on January 22. I have fought according to law for seven years and we will get justice legally," she told a private TV channel.
Advocate A P Singh, who is representing the convicts in the case, said that he would soon file mercy petition before the President on behalf of Vinay and Mukesh. He said he would also file curative petitions on behalf of Akshay and Pawan in the apex court.
"I have sought details from Tihar Jail about the conduct of these convicts during their stay on the prison from 2012 till 2019. Once I will receive those details, I will file curative petitions for Akshay and Pawan," Singh told PTI. He said that last week, he had approached the jail authorities seeking details about conduct of these convicts in the prison but he has not been provided with it yet.
A 23-year-old paramedic student, referred to as Nirbhaya, was gang-raped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012, in a moving bus in south Delhi by six people before being thrown out on the road. She died on December 29 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.
The Supreme Court had in 2017 upheld the capital punishment awarded to the four convicts by the Delhi High Court and a trial court. One of the six accused in the case, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail. A juvenile, who was among the accused, was convicted by a juvenile justice board and was released from a reformation home after serving a three-year term.
On July 9, 2018, the apex court had dismissed the review pleas filed by three of the convicts in the case, saying no grounds had been made out by them for review of the 2017 verdict. On December 18 last year, the top court had dismissed the plea filed by Akshay seeking review of its 2017 judgement upholding his death penalty.
(With Agency Inputs)