SC rejects curative petitions of 2 death row convicts in Nirbhaya case

Mukesh, Pawan, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur were convicted on charges of brutally raping and assaulting a 23-year-old paramedical student inside a bus that led to her death. Photo: PTI
The Supreme Court Tuesday refused to stay the execution of two of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case while dismissing their curative petitions against their conviction and capital punishment.

The four convicts -- Vinay Sharma (26), Mukesh Kumar (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 had issued their death warrants on January 7.

A five-judge bench of the apex court, during in-chamber proceedings, rejected the curative petitions filed by Vinay and Mukesh.

"The applications for oral hearing are rejected. The applications for stay of execution of death sentence are also rejected," a bench, headed by Justice N V Ramana, said in its order.

"We have gone through the curative petitions and the relevant documents. In our opinion, no case is made out within the parameters indicated in the decision of this court in Rupa Ashok Hurra vs Ashok Hurra & another, reported in 2002 (4) SCC 388.

"Hence, the curative petitions are dismissed," said the bench, also comprising Justices Arun Mishra, R F Nariman, R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan.

A curative petition is the last and final legal remedy available to a person.

The five judges were unanimous that there was no merit in the curative petitions filed by the two convicts, Vinay and Mukesh, on January 9.

The other two convicts, Akshay and Pawan have not filed curative petitions yet.

Soon after the top court dismissed the curative pleas of the two convicts, the Nirbhaya's mother Asha Devi said: "Today is a big day for me because I have been struggling for seven years, till date. Today is a big day for me but the biggest day would be January 22 when the four would be hanged." "I hope that the other remedies available to them would be similarly rejected in future and they will be hanged on January 22. I have fought according to law for seven years and we will get justice legally," she told a private TV channel.

Advocate A P Singh, who is representing the convicts in the case, said that he would soon file mercy petition before the President on behalf of Vinay and Mukesh.

He said he would also file curative petitions on behalf of Akshay and Pawan in the apex court.

"I have sought details from Tihar Jail about the conduct of these convicts during their stay on the prison from 2012 till 2019. Once I will receive those details, I will file curative petitions for Akshay and Pawan," Singh told PTI.

He said that last week, he had approached the jail authorities seeking details about conduct of these convicts in the prison but he has not been provided with it yet.

Singh said that he is also planning to approach the Delhi High Court to challenge the trial court's January 7 order issuing death warrants against these convicts.

He said once he would file mercy petition, he would bring it to notice of the court so that the scheduled execution could be suspended.

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

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

The Supreme Court had in 2017 upheld the capital punishment awarded to the four convicts by the Delhi High Court and a trial court.

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

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.

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

On December 18 last year, the top court had dismissed the plea filed by Akshay seeking review of its 2017 judgement upholding his death penalty.

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