The Delhi government on Sunday recommended that the mercy petition of one of the four convicts on death row in the December 2012 gangrape case be rejected as it was among the “most heinous crimes”, ANI reported.

Six men had raped and brutally assaulted a 23-year-old student in a moving bus in Delhi on December 16, 2012. The woman succumbed to her injuries two weeks later at a hospital in Singapore. A minor convict was released in December 2015 after serving three years in a detention home for juveniles, while one convict died in prison. The four other convicts were awarded the death penalty.

In October, the Tihar jail officials informed the convicts – Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, and Akshay Kumar Singh – that they had exhausted all their options for legal recourse, and were only left with the choice to file a mercy petition before the president of India against their sentence. Their deadline was November 5. Of the four, only Sharma filed a petition, according to The Indian Express.

According to file notings, Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain wrote that this was “the most heinous crime of extreme brutality committed by the appellant” and strongly recommended its rejection. “This is the case where exemplary punishment should be given to deter others from committing such atrocious crimes,” the file noting said. “There is no merit in mercy petition, strongly recommended for rejection.”

It will then go to Lt Governor Anil Baijal and then the Ministry of Home Affairs and finally President Ram Nath Kovind.

The case

A trial court had ordered death sentences for the convicts in September 2013, which was upheld by the Delhi High Court six months later. On May 5, 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the verdicts of the Delhi High Court and the trial court.

In July last year, the court had dismissed a review petition filed by convicts Mukesh, Pawan Gupta and Vinay Sharma who had requested that their punishment be reduced to life sentence. The fourth death-row convict, Akshay Kumar Singh, had not filed a review petition. In December 2018, the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition seeking the immediate execution of the four men.

The crime had triggered country-wide protests and demands for better safety of women. The outrage forced the government to introduce new anti-rape laws.