NEW DELHI: The pre-dawn hearing at the Supreme Court of the plea on Friday by one of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case, who were all finally hanged in the wee hours, was yet another in the line of such extraordinary proceedings.
This time, a three judge special bench comprising Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna opened its door to Pawan Gupta’s last plea challenging the rejection of his second mercy petition by the President at 2:30 am.
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It however rejected the plea saying no ground was made out to warrant judicial review of the President’s decision to reject his mercy plea.Following that, Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Kumar Singh were executed at 5.30 am in Tihar Jail for the rape of the 23-year-old intern on December 16, 2012. She died a fortnight later of her injures.
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Similarly, the apex court had on July 29, 2015 have another midnight hearing to consider an urgent plea to stay the scheduled execution of lone death row convict of 1993 Mumbai blasts case, Yakub Memon, at 6 AM in Yerwada jail the next day.
The top court had also stayed the death penalty of Noida’s Nithari serial murders convict Surinder Koli in 2014 and heard it late night too.
In another case in 2014, the court heard the matter around 11:30 pm and stayed the execution of death sentence against 16 persons. The midnight knocks at the Supreme Court have not only been confined to the cases of execution of death warrants but have pertained to political and other drama as well.