President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday rejected the mercy petition of Mukesh Singh, one of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case.
This comes just hours after the Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday night forwarded the mercy petition of the convict to Rashtrapati Bhavan urging the President to reject the plea.
Earlier, the Delhi government had rejected the mercy plea of 2012 Delhi gangrape case convict and had recommended the Centre to reject the petition as well.
Mukesh had on Tuesday moved the Delhi High Court challenging the death warrant issued against him after the Supreme Court had dismissed his curative petition. The plea sought for directions for setting aside the trial court order and not to give effect to the order for execution of death sentence on January 22. He had also filed a mercy plea before the President.
Following this, the Delhi government and prison authorities informed the High Court on Wednesday that the execution of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case cannot take place on January 22 in view of the mercy plea.
However, the Delhi High Court refused to set aside the death warrant issued against convict Mukesh.
Meanwhile, Tihar Jail authorities on Thursday asked the Delhi government to issue the new execution date of the four Nirbhaya convicts because of the mercy plea filed.
This came as a Delhi court directed Tihar jail authorities to file a proper report by Friday about the status of the scheduled execution of convicts in the Nirbhaya case.
Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora asked the jail authorities to submit a report under Section 840 of the Delhi Prison Rules stating the action taken regarding the mercy petition of Mukesh and regarding the postponement of the date of execution.
As per law, there should be a 14-day gap between the rejection of a death-row convict’s mercy petition and his execution.
However, the judge has refused to change the date of execution as of now.
Delhi’s Patiala House Court had on January 7 issued death warrants against all the four convicts in the 2012 case. The convicts are to be hanged at 7 am on January 22.
Four of the convicts — Vinay Sharma (26), Mukesh Kumar (32), Akshay Thakur Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) — were sentenced to death by a trial court in September 2013, and the verdict was confirmed by the Delhi High Court in March 2014 and upheld by the Supreme Court in May 2017, which also dismissed their review petitions.
The three other convicts have not filed a mercy plea yet.
Earlier in December, Vinay Sharma, one of the convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya case, had moved the President’s office seeking immediate withdrawal of his mercy petition as he claimed that the plea sent to the President by the Union Home Ministry was not signed and authorized by him.
This came a day after the Centre recommended to President Ram Nath Kovind rejection of the mercy plea of Sharma.
The 23-year-old victim, who came to be known as Nirbhaya, was brutally gangraped and tortured on December 16, 2012, inside a running bus in south Delhi by six persons, which later led to her death. All the six accused were arrested and charged with sexual assault and murder.
The fifth accused was a minor and appeared before a juvenile justice court, while a sixth accused committed suicide in Tihar Jail.