Nirbhaya Case: SC To Hear Convict’s Plea Over Age on 20 January

Earlier on Friday, the Prosecutor said that Mukesh was officially intimated about the rejection of his mercy plea.

Updated18 Jan 2020, 10:25 AM IST
4 min read

On 20 January, the Supreme Court will hear the plea of a death row convict in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case against a Delhi High Court order dismissing his claim of being a juvenile at the time of commission of the offence.

A bench of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bushan and A S Bopanna will hear the plea of Pawan Kumar Gupta.

Gupta filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) before the Supreme Court. He has claimed that he was a juvenile at the time of the crime and Delhi High Court has ignored this fact.

After President Ram Nath Kovind rejected the mercy petition of Mukesh Kumar, one of the convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case, a Delhi Court issued fresh death warrants for convicts on Friday, 17 January.

The date of execution, as of now, stands as 1 February at 6: 00 am.

‘Tareek Pe Tareek’: Nirbhaya’s Mother on Convicts’ New Hanging Date

Asha Devi, Nirbhaya mother told ANI, “Whatever the criminals wanted is happening. Tareek pe tareek, tareek pe tareek. Our system only listens to the convicts.”

The prosecutor informed the court that Mukesh was officially intimated about the rejection of his mercy plea. Earlier in the day, the Home Ministry had sent the petition to President recommending rejection.

Meanwhile, the Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) has issued a notice to AP Singh, counsel for three Nirbhaya convicts and sought his reply in two weeks in view of the HC order in the case. Recently, the Delhi HC asked BCD to take action and also imposed Rs 25,000 fine on Singh, who allegedly did not appear before the court despite communication.

On Thursday, Tihar jail authorities asked the Delhi government to postpone the hanging of Nirbhaya convicts, seeking a fresh date citing the convict's mercy plea.

The state government's rejection of the mercy plea came soon after a sessions court in Delhi directed the jail authorities to file a proper report by Friday, about the status of the scheduled executions.

Nirbhaya Case: SC To Hear  Convict’s Plea Over Age on 20 January
(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)
Sessions Judge has directed Tihar Authorities to send a detailed report of their compliance with Rule 840 read along with Rule 863 of the Delhi Prison Rules, according to Live Law.

The direction was passed after jail authorities informed that they had written to the Delhi government on the same in view of pending remedies.

The jail authorities, however, agreed to place the report before the court by Thursday.

This comes a day after the Delhi High Court refused to set aside the trial court’s order, which issued death warrant to Mukesh Kumar, one of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya case.

Appearing for Mukesh, Advocate Vrinda Grover, said that the order scheduling the date of execution has to be set aside. “The interpretation of law can’t be left to the imagination of the jail authorities,” Grover said.

While issuing the order, the high court had said that there was no error in the trial court's order that issued a death warrant against Mukesh and told his counsel to approach the sessions court.

The four convicts – Vinay Sharma, Mukesh Kumar, Akshay Kumar Singh and Pawan Gupta – are to be hanged on 22 January at 7 am in Tihar jail. A Delhi court had issued their death warrants on 7 January.

Earlier during the hearing, the Delhi Government had also told the court that the execution of death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape case will not happen on 22 January, as one of them has filed a mercy plea, news agency PTI reported.

What Did the Petitions State?

Vinay Kumar Sharma, one of the four convicts in the 2012 gang-rape and murder case, filed the first curative petition on Thursday, 9 January. He was followed shortly by Mukesh, who too filed a curative petition in a bid to delay the death penalty to be executed on 22 January.

The petitions come two days after a Delhi court issued a death warrant against all four convicts, with their scheduled execution to take place at 7 am on 22 January in Tihar Jail.

In his curative plea, Vinay said his young age has been erroneously rejected as a mitigating circumstance, news agency PTI reported.

“The petitioner’s socio-economic circumstances, number of family dependents, including ailing parents, good conduct in jail and probability of reformation have not been adequately considered leading to gross miscarriage of justice,” the plea said.

It said the court's judgment has relied on factors such as “collective conscience of society” and “public opinion” in deciding the sentence to be imposed on him and others.

“The impugned judgment is bad in law as subsequent judgments of apex court have definitely changed the law on death sentence in India allowing several convicts similarly placed as him to have their death sentence commuted to life imprisonment,” the plea said.

It further said that after pronouncement of the apex court’s judgment in 2017 there have been as many as 17 cases involving rape and murder in which various three-judge benches of the top court have commuted the death sentence.

The other two convicts in the case are Pawan Gupta (25) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31).

The 23-year-old paramedic student, referred to as Nirbhaya, was gangraped and brutally assaulted on the intervening night of 16-17 December in 2012 inside a moving bus in south Delhi by six persons before being thrown out on the road.

She died on 29 December 2012 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

In 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the capital punishment awarded to them 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 9 July 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.

(With inputs from NDTV, Live Law, PTI and ANI.)

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Published: 09 Jan 2020, 06:21 AM IST
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