Two of the four death-row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape case, Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Kumar, filed curative petitions in the Supreme Court on Thursday, PTI reported. Death warrants for the four convicts were issued on Tuesday, and their hanging is scheduled for January 22 at 7 am.
Sharma filed the first curative petition in the case, and it was followed by Kumar’s hours later. Convicts can file curative pleas after a review petition against the final conviction is rejected. Such pleas are commonly decided by judges in chambers unless a request for an open-court hearing is granted. It is the last legal remedy available to a convict.
Sharma’s lawyer AP Singh said that the plea highlighted that the convict was 19 years old when he committed the crime, adding that young age and socio-economic background should have been considered by the court, India Today reported.
The four men, and two others, raped and brutally assaulted a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus in Delhi on the night of December 16, 2012. She succumbed to injuries two weeks later at a hospital in Singapore. The gangrape triggered huge protests across India.
One of the convicts died in prison, while a minor was sent to a detention home for juveniles. He was released in December 2015. The four others were awarded the death penalty by a trial court in September 2013. The ruling was upheld by the Delhi High Court six months later and the Supreme Court in May 2017.
Three of the four – Vinay Sharma, Mukesh Singh and Pawan Gupta – filed review petitions against the punishment, but the Supreme Court rejected them in July 2018. In December 2018, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition seeking the immediate execution of the four. The fourth convict, Akshay Kumar Singh, filed a review plea last month, but it was also rejected by the top court.
In October, Tihar Jail officials informed the four convicts 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. Their deadline was November 5. Of the four, only Vinay Sharma filed a petition. The Delhi government, however, recommended that his mercy petition be rejected.