Justice R Banumathi (Photo Credit: File)
Supreme Court judge Justice R Banumathi fainted in the courtroom on Friday while dictating the order on the Centre’s petition seeking separate hanging of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case. Justice Banumathi soon regained consciousness and was taken to the chamber by other judges on the dais and Supreme Court staff.
She was taken on a wheel-chair for medical treatment. Justice AS Bopanna, while rising, said that the order in the matter will be passed in-chamber. Justice Ashok Bhushan was also part of the three-judge bench hearing the matter.
The court also dismissed the plea of Vinay Sharma, one of the four death row convicts in the case, challenging the rejection of his mercy petition by the President alleging that it was done in a "mala fide" manner.
The bench said no ground was made out for judicial review of the rejection of the mercy petition Sharma, one of the four death row convicts in the 2012 case.
“The note put up before the President of India is a detailed one and all the relevant materials were placed before the President and upon consideration of same, the mercy petition was rejected,” the bench said.
“We do not find any ground for exercise of judicial review of the order of the President of India rejecting the petitioner's mercy petition and this writ petition is liable to be dismissed,” it said.
All material, including Sharma's medical report, was placed before the President, who did apply his mind in rejection of the mercy plea, it said. The apex court dismissed the contention of Sharma that he is mentally ill, saying the medical report suggests he is stable.
The trial court had on January 31 stayed “till further orders” execution of the four convicts in the case -- Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar (31), who are lodged in Tihar Jail.
Sharma claimed on Thursday that while rejecting his mercy plea the President did not consider his mental illness following torture in jail, an allegation denied by the Centre, saying "he is fit and has sound mind".
Through his counsel, he made a last ditch effort to escape from the gallows claiming that all the relevant records were not brought before the President including that he had been subjected to torture and ill-treatment in jail due to which he had developed mental illness. The Centre however had opposed his claim and produced a medical report dated February 12 which said he was fit and had a sound mind.