The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a curative petition filed by 2012 Delhi gangrape convict Akshay Kumar Singh to commute his death sentence, ANI reported. Singh wanted his sentence to be reduced to life imprisonment and had filed his plea on Wednesday.
In his plea, Singh had said: “The hollow claim that the death penalty creates a special kind of deterrence which is not caused by life imprisonment and that life imprisonment amounts to ‘forgiving’ the criminal is backed by nothing more than a barely masked need to justify vengeance and retribution.” He added that in 17 cases involving rape and murder, the top court has commuted the death penalty.
The convict also questioned why in his case, the alternative of life imprisonment without parole until the end of natural life was foreclosed.
Singh, 31, who filed the curative petition on Wednesday, used the last legal remedy available to him a month after the Supreme Court rejected his plea seeking a review of his death sentence, using bizarre arguments.
Akshay Kumar Singh, Mukesh Kumar Singh, Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta were supposed to be hanged at Delhi’s Tihar Jail on February 1 for raping and brutally assaulting a paramedical student on a bus on the night of December 16, 2012, an incident that had sparked countrywide protests. She later died in a hospital in Singapore.
On January 14, the Supreme Court had rejected the curative petitions of convicts Mukesh Singh and Vinay Sharma. Mukesh Singh then sought mercy from President Kovind, who rejected it. He also moved the Delhi High Court to set aside the death warrant issued by a trial court. On Wednesday evening, Sharma also filed a mercy plea with the president.
Mukesh Singh had filed a petition on January 25 under Article 32 of the Constitution for judicial review of “the manner of rejection of the mercy petition”, according to his advocate Vrinda Grover. His petition was listed on Monday before Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, who said it should be “top priority” since the execution is scheduled for February 1. “If somebody is going to be hanged then nothing can be more urgent than this,” Bobde said. However, the court rejected the plea on Wednesday.