Hours after the Supreme Court dismissed a convict’s review petition in the December, 2012 gangrape-cum-murder case, a Delhi Court Wednesday directed the Tihar jail authorities to issue a notice to all the four convicts to apprise them about their legal remedies available to them.
Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora, hearing Delhi government’s plea for issuance of death warrants to execute the four convicts, observed that one convict was not represented in court today and adjourned the matter. The matter will now be taken up on January 7.
After the court’s direction, the victim’s mother welled up and asked the Judge, “What about my rights?” The Judge in-turn replied, ” They have rights. You also have your right which is why we are here to consider it.”
The Tihar jail officials, who appeared before the court, informed that one of the convicts – Vinay withdrew his mercy petition and convict Mukesh and Akshay do not want to file a mercy petition.
This was, however, disputed by the counsel of the three convicts AP Singh who handed a handwritten note of Vinay, which stated that the mercy petition was sent without his permission. He further informed the court that he will avail the legal remedies available before him and will file the mercy petitions.
The Special Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan and Additional Public Prosecutor Irfan Ahmad told the court that there was no impediment on the court to execute death warrants and that further remedies may be availed later.
The Amicus Curiae Vrinda Grover told the court that as per Vinay’s reply he wanted to file a curative petition. “The issue of a mercy petition was brought to the attention of the Supreme Court. This is a premature stage. This court has to tie its hands in this case and adjourn it to an appropriate period,” she said.
Earlier today, the apex court rejected the review petition filed by Akshay Kumar Singh, one of the four death-row convicts in the December 16, 2012 Delhi gangrape case. In his review plea, convict Akshay wanted the sentence commuted as other countries have also done away with the death penalty.
The newly constituted three-judge bench, headed by Justice R Banumathi and also comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna heard the petition. The bench said, “Review petition is not re-hearing of appeal over and over again. We find no grounds for review of 2017 verdict upholding the death penalty of the convict.”
The hearing comes a day after Chief Justice of India S A Bobde recused himself on personal grounds from hearing the plea.
The Tihar Jail authorities on October 29 informed the four convicts on death row that they have “exhausted” all legal remedies “except the provision of filing of mercy petition” before the President of India.
The notice to the four convicts — Mukesh (31), Pawan Gupta (24), Vinay Sharma (25) and Akshay Kumar Singh (33) — was signed by the Superintendent, Central Jail No. 2, Tihar Jail.
The case dates back to December 16, 2012, when a 23-year-old woman was gangraped and assaulted inside a moving bus in South Delhi by six persons, before being thrown out on the road. She died on December 29, 2012.
One of the accused, Ram Singh, hanged himself in jail, while another, a juvenile, was convicted of rape and murder and given the maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment in a reform facility.
In September 2013, a fast-track court held the four convicts guilty of 13 offences including gangrape, unnatural sexual assault and murder of the woman and attempt to murder her male friend.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines