India

Nothing more urgent than a death row convict's plea: Supreme Court

Nothing more urgent than a death row convict's plea: Supreme Court
The four convicts in Dec 16 gangrape-murder case.

The Supreme Court will on Tuesday hear a plea by December 16, 2012, gangrape-murder convict Mukesh Kumar Singh challenging the dismissal of his mercy plea by President Ram Nath Kovind.

The petition will be heard by a three-judge bench comprising Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna.

On Monday, Singh’s counsel mentioned the plea before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde.

Saying that “if somebody is going to be hanged, then nothing can be more urgent than this”, the CJI asked the counsel to approach the court’s mentioning officer for its urgent listing.

The bench, also comprising Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, noted that the four convicts, including Mukesh, are set to be executed on February 1 and said “execution case will be given top priority”.

The President had rejected his mercy plea on January 17.

On January 14, a five-judge Bench in the SC had rejected the curative petitions filed by Mukesh and co-convict Vinay Kumar Sharma.

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 were set to be hanged in Tihar Jail on January 22.

However, with the convicts filing one petition after the other, the January 22 date had to be postponed. A fresh date has been fixed for February 1.

Meanwhile, a Delhi court dismissed a review petition filed by Mukesh’s father, who claimed that the eyewitness in the case gave a false statement. Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Kumar Jain dismissed the review petition after he noted that it was devoid of any merits.

“The acts of complainant appears to be desperate and malafide… where his son is one step away from the gallows, no costs are required to be imposed,” said ASJ Jain. Earlier a magistrate court had dismissed his application, following which the review petition was filed by Mukesh’s advocate, AP Singh.

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, at a hospital in Singapore.