Vinay Sharma has filed a petition in the Supreme Court against President of India's decision to reject his mercy plea. (Photo Credit: PTI File)
Supreme Court on Thursday reserved order on the issue of rejection of death row convict Vinay Kumar Sharma's mercy petition by President Ram Nath Kovind in the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape-and-murder case. The bench of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna is expected to pronounce the order at 2 pm on Friday. President Kovind had rejected Vinay's mercy petition on February 1.
The bench heard arguments for nearly two hours on behalf of Sharma, Central and Delhi government. Advocate A P Singh appearing for Sharma argued that his client's mercy petition was rejected by the president in a "mala fide" manner and all relevant records were not produced before him. He said Sharma was subjected to torture, put in solitary confinement and due to trauma suffered in jail, he has mental illness.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Union of India and NCT of Delhi, opposed Singh's argument and said the president has examined all relevant records and due process under the law was followed in rejection of Sharma's mercy petition. Mehta placed before the court a medical report of February 12 of Sharma and said he was found to be medically fit.
However, the Supreme Court rejected the Vinay Sharma's request to peruse recommendation for rejection of his mercy plea. Sharma's counsel alleged in the court that the Delhi lieutenant governor and its home minister had not signed the recommendation for rejection of his mercy plea. However, Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna perused the record and said the LG and the home minister indeed signed the recommendation for rejection of his mercy petition. Sharma, through advocate AP singh, moved the apex court on Tuesday challenging the rejection of his mercy petition by the president. He claimed the "hurried rejection" was "mala fide" and violated the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
Eariler, the Supreme Court has deferred hearing to Friday the Centre’s plea seeking separate execution of the Nirbhaya case convicts. Hearing a plea filed by convict Mukesh, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked Nirbhaya case convicts to file counter replies by Friday on Centre and Delhi government's plea seeking separate execution.
The Supreme Court on Thursday also appointed advocate Anjana Prakash as amicus curiae for convict Pawan Gupta, who had earlier claimed that he didnot have a lawyer to assist him. Pawan is the only one among the four convicts who has not yet filed a curative petition -- the last legal remedy available to a person which is decided in-chamber. He also has the option of filing a mercy plea.
On January 31, the death sentence of four convicts Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur were stayed by a lower court till further orders. All the four convicts are currently lodged in Tihar Jail. Vinay and five other men, including a juvenile, had brutally raped a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who came to be known as 'Nirbhaya' (fearless), on the night of December 16, 2012 in a moving bus. She died of her injuries a fortnight later in a Singapore hospital.