With barely a week left for January 22, the date stipulated by a Delhi court to hang four convicts in the December 16, 2012, Delhi gangrape case, the Supreme Court Tuesday dismissed curative petitions filed by two of the four on death row.
A five-judge bench headed by Justice N V Ramana, which took up in-chamber the review petitions of Vinay Kumar Sharma and Mukesh Kumar, said it had “gone through the curative petitions, and the relevant documents” and concluded that “no case is made out”. “Hence, the curative petitions are dismissed,” the bench said.
The bench, also comprising Justices Arun Mishra, R F Nariman, R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan, rejected the plea to stay the death sentence and hear the petitions in open court.
Mukesh Kumar, meanwhile, filed a mercy petition Tuesday and also approached the Delhi High Court seeking to set aside the death warrant. The appeal is listed for hearing Wednesday before a bench of Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal.
The petition, filed through advocate Vrinda Grover, seeks the setting aside of the trial court’s order issuing the warrant of execution and direction to authorities to “scrupulously follow timeframes as prescribed by law, rules, and the Supreme Court”.
The plea also states that the convict cannot be executed during pendency of his mercy petitions before the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and the President.
Referring to Mukesh Kumar’s mercy plea, DG Delhi Prisons Sandeep Goel said: “We will send it to the Delhi government, which will send it to the Home Ministry to be forwarded to the President.”
On January 7, a Delhi court had issued death warrants against Sharma and Kumar and the two other co-convicts, Akshay Kumar Singh and Pawan Gupta. They are set to be hanged till death in Tihar jail, where they are lodged, at 7 am on January 22. Singh and Gupta have not filed any curative petition yet.
In Tihar jail, preparations are underway for the execution. “We have requested Pawan, the hangman from Meerut, to reach Delhi by January 20 for the execution scheduled on January 22,” said Goel.
On Sunday, jail authorities conducted a weight test for the ropes using sand bags. On Tuesday afternoon, Vinay Kumar Sharma’s father visited him in jail, said sources.
There were a total of six accused in the gangrape and brutal assault of a 23-year-old paramedic student, on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 in a moving bus in south Delhi. She died on December 29, 2012, at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.
One of the accused, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar jail while another was convicted by a juvenile justice board and released after serving a three-year term in a reformation centre.
The other four were convicted and sentenced to death in September 2013. The conviction and sentencing were upheld by the High Court and Supreme Court. The top court had also dismissed their pleas seeking review of the confirmation order.