President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday rejected the mercy petition of Akshay Thakur, one of the four death-row convicts in the 2012 gangrape-murder case, ANI reported.
Singh had filed the appeal on Saturday, hours after the president rejected the mercy plea of fellow convicts Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Singh. The fourth convict, Pawan Gupta, has not yet filed a petition for presidential pardon.
A mercy plea to the president is the last available option for a death-row convicts. At present, the minimum time between a mercy plea being rejected and a convict’s execution is 14 days.
Earlier in the day, the Delhi High Court gave the four convicts one week’s time to avail of all legal remedies available to them. The court turned down a plea of the Union government and said the four would have to be hanged together since they were convicted for the same crime. The Centre and the Delhi government had challenged a lower court’s order staying the execution of the convicts, which was initially scheduled for 6 am on February 1. The convicts’ death warrants were first issued for January 22, and then postponed to February 1 because of the mercy pleas.
The High Court however, said the convicts “have frustrated the process by using delaying tactics”. Later in the day, both the Centre and the Delhi government moved the Supreme Court against the High Court order, The Hindu reported.
The four men were sentenced to death in September 2013 for raping and murdering a paramedical student on the night of December 16, 2012. The assault had sparked countrywide protests. The student died 13 days later at a Singapore hospital.
The death sentence was upheld by the Delhi High Court in March 2014, and the Supreme Court in May 2017.