NEW DELHI: Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Singh, two of the four men sentenced to death in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case, filed curative petitions in the apex court in what is being seen as their last legal option to escape the noose. Sharma, through his lawyer A P Singh, had approached the top court two days after a Delhi court declared that the four rapists will be hanged on January 22. Hours later, Singha also filed a curative petition.
Sharma, Singh, Pawan Gupta, and Akshay Kumar Singh are to be executed together at Tihar jail. All four had reportedly broke down in jail after the death warrant was confirmed. “To eliminate systemic and political bias against the petitioner, it is imperative that this case be reheard in open court by the senior-most judges of this Hon’ble Court without the Damocles sword of an execution warrant hanging over the proceedings (sic),” the plea stated. The Supreme Court has already turned down review petitions against the death sentence from three of the convicts.
In his curative plea, Vinay said his young age has been erroneously rejected as a mitigating circumstance. “The petitioner’s socio-economic circumstances, number of family dependants including ailing parents, good conduct in jail and probability of reformation have not been adequately considered leading to gross miscarriage of justice,” the plea said.
It said the judgment has relied on factors such as “collective conscience of society” and “public opinion” in deciding the sentence to be imposed on him and others. “The impugned judgment is bad in law as subsequent SC judgments have definitely changed the law on death sentence in India allowing several convicts similarly placed as him to have their death sentence commuted to life imprisonment,” the plea said.