Delhi rape convict Mukesh Singh’s petition against rejection of mercy plea in SC tomorrow
Three judges of the Supreme Court will on Tuesday hear death row convict Mukesh Singh’s petition challenging the presidential order rejecting his mercy plea filed this month. The hearing will begin at 12.30 pm.
Mukesh Singh’s lawyer had mentioned his petition filed last week before a bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde earlier in the day. Chief Justice Bobde promptly told the lawyer to mention it before the top court official mandated for this purpose, underscoring that the court would take it up on top priority.
“If somebody is going to be hanged, then nothing can be more urgent than this,” Chief Justice Bobde said.
In the list of cases put out by the top court later in the day, Mukesh Singh’s petition was listed to be taken up by a bench comprising justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna at 12.30 pm.
Mukesh Singh is one of the four men ordered to be executed on February 1 for the rape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedic on a cold December night in 2012. The paramedic and her friend were thrown out of the bus. The barbarity of the rape - she was left half naked, severely bleeding and shivering in the winter chill - brought thousands of people onto the streets in protest against authorities’ failure to ensure women’s safety. The government responded by amending the law to plug loopholes in rape laws and amendment to the juvenile law.
A fifth accused in this case had gotten away with a three-year term because he was a minor when the crime was committed. The sixth person, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar jail.
The four men were convicted and sentenced to death within a year or so. But the appeals process in the high court and Supreme Court has taken years to reach some finality, upsetting the woman’s parents who have doggedly track the case.
After a judge finally issued orders to execute the four men earlier this month, Mukesh Singh had filed a petition for mercy to President Ram Nath Kovind. The petition was rejected within four days. The Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government and Home Minister Amit Shah were on the same page on Mukesh Singh’s request for mercy.
The mercy petition had led to postponement of their execution, the judge shifted their hanging from 22 January to 1 February.
But officials believe that it is unlikely that the four would be executed on 1 February, because AP Singh, one of the lawyers for the convicts, has made it clear that he would file mercy petitions and curative petitions on behalf of his clients.
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