Supreme Court: After a day long hearing in he petition filed Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder convict Mukesh Kumar Singh, challenging the rejection of his mercy petition by President Ram Nath Kovind, the 3-judge bench of R Banumathi, AS Bopanna and Ashok Bhushan, JJ has said that it will pass the order at 10:30 tomorrow.
Four people, Mukesh Kumar Singh , Pawan Kumar Gupta, Vinay Kumar Sharma, and Akshay Kumar Singh, are facing execution on February 1 in the matter.
Advocate Anjana Prakash, appearing on behalf of Mukesh, alleged that her client was physically and sexually assaulted in Tihar jail and put under solitary confinement.
“He (Mukesh) was forced to have intercourse with Akshay (another death row convict in the case) in Tihar jail,”
The counsel said that the Presidential pardon is a Constitutional duty of great responsibility, which must be exercised keeping in mind greater good of the people.
“Solitary confinement and procedural lapses are the grounds for considering this case … Undue delay in hearing the petition and the due and prescribed procedure was not followed in this case,”
She further contended that the documents were placed before the President of India without application of mind. She said,
“I am not challenging the judicial verdict. The judicial verdict stands as it is. The courts can’t go into as how it was rejected, but the president can certainly go into the merits of the case,”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of the Delhi government, said that even death convicts have to be treated fairly under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution but opposed the plea of the death row convict.
“Delay can be a ground for considering a case, but expeditious disposal of case/petition (/search?query=petition), it can’t be a ground for challenging this before the court,”
He highlighted that the trial court, Delhi High court, and the Supreme Court had awarded and upheld the death penalty to the convicts in the case while considering their medical condition.
“Sometimes, the medical health and condition of a death row convict deteriorate so much so that the death penalty can’t be awarded to those death row convicts, but in this case, the medical condition of this convict is fine,”
The 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, 2012 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. Besides Mukesh, three others – Akshay, Vinay, and Pawan are facing the gallows for the heinous crime that shook the entire nation. One of the six accused in the case, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in the Tihar Jail here.
On July 9, 2018 , the Court had dismissed the review pleas filed by the three convicts in the case, saying no grounds have been made out by them for review of the 2017 verdict.
On December 18, 2019, the 3-judge bench of R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna, JJ rejected the review petition of the last convict, Akshay Kumar Singh, seeking modification and leniency.
On January 21, 2020, the 3-judge bench of R. Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna, JJ had dismissed the Special Leave Petition filed by Pawan Kumar Gupta, one of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya Gang rape case where he “reagitated” the plea of juvenility.
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. Two of the convicts are yet to file curative petitions before the Supreme Court.
Another accused, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail in March 2013 during the trial. Another convict, who was a minor at the time of the crime, was sent to a reform facility and released after three years of the crime.