Nirbhaya case: Convict Mukesh Singh moves HC against death warrant, says mercy plea before President

The plea also seeks stay of the execution warrant, saying otherwise his constitutional right to seek mercy would be rendered infructuous.

Published: 14th January 2020 08:09 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th January 2020 08:09 PM   |  A+A-

Nirbhaya gang rape case convicts (clockwise from top left) Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh.

Nirbhaya gang rape case convicts (clockwise from top left) Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh Singh. (File Photo | PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: One of the four Nirbhaya gang rape and murder convicts, who are scheduled to be hanged on January 22, moved the Delhi High Court on Tuesday for setting aside the death warrant issued by a trial court.

The four convicts -- Vinay Sharma (26), Mukesh Singh (32), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) -- are to be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar jail as a Delhi court has issued their death warrants on January 7.

The plea of convict Mukesh is listed for hearing on Wednesday before a bench of Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal.

The petition, filed through advocate Vrinda Grover, seeks setting aside of the January 7 order issuing warrant for his execution on the ground that he has moved mercy petitions before the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and the President of India.

Mukesh Singh filed a mercy plea before the President on Tuesday, Tihar Prison authorities said.

It also seeks stay of the execution warrant, saying otherwise his constitutional right to seek mercy would be rendered infructuous.

The Supreme Court earlier Tuesday dismissed the curative pleas of Mukesh and Vinay.

Apart from seeking setting aside of the death warrant, Mukesh in his plea has sought that he be given 14 days notice about the date of execution if his mercy plea is rejected.

The petition contends that according to the apex court decision in Shatrughan Chauhan vs Union of India, "there must be minimum 14 days notice between the communication of rejection of mercy petition and scheduled date of execution such that a death-row convict can avail of his judicial remedies and make final preparations for his departure from this world".

In his plea, Mukesh has said he is "not questioning the final verdict of the Supreme Court or the fitness of the imposition of the death penalty, or any action/ inaction by the President of India".

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The trial court in its January 7 order had directed that all four convicts be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar jail, saying "sufficient time and opportunity" was given to them to "exercise and exhaust their legal remedies".

The Supreme Court on December 18, 2019, had dismissed the plea of Akshay seeking review of its decision, saying review petition is not "re-hearing of appeal over and over again" and it had already considered the mitigating and aggravating circumstances while upholding the death penalty.

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

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

On July 9, 2018, the apex court had dismissed the review pleas filed by the other three convicts in the case, saying no grounds have been made out by them for review of the 2017 verdict.

One of the six accused in the case, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in the Tihar Jail here.

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.

The top court in its 2017 verdict had upheld the capital punishment awarded to them by the Delhi High Court and the trial court.

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