The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the curative petitions of two death-row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape case, Bar and Bench reported. The two – Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Kumar – had filed the petitions in the top court on January 9, two days after death warrants for all the four convicts were issued.
The decision of the five-judge bench comprising Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan, Arun Mishra, RF Nariman, and NV Ramana was taken in chamber around 1.45 pm. The judges did not find any merit in the pleas, reported Live Law.
“This is a big day for me,” the victim’s mother told ANI. “ I had been struggling for the last seven years. But the biggest day will be January 22, when they [convicts] will be hanged.”
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. The other two convicts are Akshay Singh and Pawan Gupta.
Defence counsel AP Singh had said last week the plea highlighted that Sharma was 19 years old when he committed the crime. He added that his young age and socio-economic background should have been considered by the court.
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.
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. 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.