As execution nears, 2 rape convicts rush to Supreme Court, President
The Supreme Court on Thursday will hear the curative petition of Akshay Thakur (31), one of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gang rape and murder case who claimed that his death sentence “barely masked need to justify vengeance and retribution” while another convict Vinay Kumar Sharma filed a plea for presidential pardon on Wednesday.
A five-judge bench headed by Justice NV Ramana will take up the curative petition -- the last legal remedy available to a convict in a court of law.
The four convicts are scheduled to be hanged on February 1.
The top court has already dismissed curative petitions filed by two other convicts in the case - Vinay Kumar Sharma and Mukesh Kumar Singh. On Wednesday, Vinay’s lawyer AP Singh said he has filed his mercy petition before President Ram Nath Kovind, according to ANI.
Akshay in his plea said, “The hollow claim that the death penalty creates a special kind of deterrence which is not caused by life imprisonment and that life imprisonment amounts to ‘forgiving’ the criminal is backed by nothing more than a barely masked need to justify vengeance and retribution.”
He also contended that in 17 cases involving rape and murder, the top court has commuted the death sentence.
Akshay also questioned why the alternative of life imprisonment without parole until the end of natural life was foreclosed in his case.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition filed by Mukesh Singh on Saturday against the presidential order rejecting his mercy plea.
A three-judge bench led by Justice R Banumathi ruled that Mukesh Singh’s argument that the government did not produce all relevant records before the President did not hold water.
The four men were convicted and sentenced to death by the trial court in 2013. The conviction and sentence were confirmed by the Delhi high court in 2014 and the Supreme Court in May 2017.
The executions were initially scheduled for January 22, but a Delhi judge set a new date for February 1 after Mukesh filed his mercy petition before the President.