Delhi 2012 gang-rape convict Mukesh Singh challenges President’s mercy plea rejection in Supreme Court
Mukesh Singh, one of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gang-rape and murder case, on Saturday moved the Supreme Court seeking a judicial review of the rejection of his mercy petition by President Ram Nath Kovind.
President Kovind had rejected Mukesh Singh’s mercy petition on January 17 within a span of just four days—in the fastest decision on a such a plea ever.
Singh has now relied on the guidelines laid down in the judgment by the top court in 2014 in the Shatrughan Chauhan vs Union of India case and assailed the manner in which the mercy plea was rejected.
Singh’s unsuccessful attempt to get a presidential pardon necessitated a fresh death warrant and pushed the execution of the four convicts from January 22 to February 1.
Hours before Singh’s petition, a local court had disposed of a plea by the lawyer of three other death row convicts in the case seeking additional documents from the jail authorities to file the curative and mercy petition for his clients.
Judge AK Jain noted that no documents were pending and all of have been given to the defence team. He said that no further directions are required and disposed of the plea by the lawyer for Vinay Sharma, 26, Akshay Kumar, 31 and Pawan Gupta, 25.
The four convicts—Pawan, Vinay, Akshay and Mukesh—were convicted and sentenced to death for the gang rape and murder of the 23-year-old paramedical student on December 16, 2012, inside a moving bus.
One of the six people arrested in this case was tried as a juvenile and sent to a correction home for three years before he was released. The sixth, Ram Singh, allegedly killed himself in Tihar.
The trial was completed within just a year of the crime but the death sentence could not be executed on account of legal formalities and pending appeals.
The delay in their execution has upset the family of the woman, who was beaten and raped in a moving bus and her friend thrashed and then thrown out of the moving bus.
She was left on the road half-naked, seriously injured, severely bleeding and shivering in the winter chill and died on December 29 in a hospital in Singapore.
The brutal crime had sparked public outrage across India, bringing thousands of people onto the streets in protest against authorities’ failure to ensure women’s safety.