New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday refused to stay the execution of two of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case. It dismissed in short order curative petitions filed by them against their conviction and capital punishment.
The four convicts -- Vinay Sharma (26), Mukesh Kumar (32), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) -- are to be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar jail.
The two whose curative petitions were rejected by a five-judge bench are Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Kumar. The other two convicts, Akshay and Pawan have not filed such petitions yet.
A curative petition is the last and final legal remedy available to a person. With this dismissal, what remains to the convicts is to file for mercy to the president, or petition the courts on procedural point, basically to buy time.
One of the four convicts, Mukesh Kumar, did file for mercy to the president and the Lt Governor of Delhi on Tuesday. He also filed a petition in the Supreme Court, not contesting the death penalty itself, but asking for the death warrant issued by the trial court—a mandatory requirement before a convict is hanged—to be set aside and/or stayed while the mercy petition is ruled upon.
It is obvious that the four convicts’ lawyers are trying run through every option available to them, possibly even filibustering the process in order to win a reprieve of some sort.
Advocate A P Singh, who is representing the convicts, said after the Supreme Court’s dismissal of the curative petitions, that he would soon file mercy petitions before the President on behalf of Vinay and Mukesh, and then also file curative petitions on behalf of Akshay and Pawan.
"I have sought details from Tihar Jail about the conduct of these convicts during their stay in the prison from 2012 till 2019. Once I receive those details, I will file curative petitions for Akshay and Pawan," he told PTI.
The rape victim Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi was at the Supreme Court waiting for the judges’ decision. She said she hoped that the other remedies available to the convicts would also be rejected so that the hangings can happen on January 22.
“Today is a big day for me because I have been struggling for seven years. Today is a big day for me but the biggest day would be January 22 when the four would be hanged."
Her daughter, 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 men before being thrown out on the road. She died on December 29 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.
The Supreme Court upheld capital punishment for them. One of the six accused, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar jail. A juvenile was convicted by a juvenile justice board and was released from a reformation home after serving a three-year term....