The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed 2012 Delhi gangrape case convict Vinay Sharma’s petition challenging the rejection of his mercy plea by the president, ANI reported. Sharma had filed the mercy petition on January 29, and it was rejected by President Ram Nath Kovind on February 1.
A bench of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna said the petition was devoid of any merit. The court also rejected the allegations that the mercy plea was rejected in a “mala fide” manner, and said all the documents, including Sharma’s medical report, were placed before the president.
The top court added that Sharma’s medical report stated that he is not mentally ill and his medical condition is stable.
On Thursday, the court had reserved its judgement on the plea. Sharma’s lawyer, AP Singh, said the rejection of the plea for mercy amounted to a gross miscarriage of justice. He claimed that the recommendation did not carry the signatures of Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Home Minister Manish Sisodia.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court deferred the order on the Centre’s petition seeking separate execution of the four convicts after Justice Banumathi fainted while dictating the judgement. She soon regained consciousness, and was taken to the chamber. “We will release the order later,” Justice Bopanna said, according to Bar and Bench. The order will be passed in-chamber, Hindustan Times reported, citing Justice Bopanna.
Legal proceedings till now
On February 5, the Delhi High Court had turned down the Union government’s plea to hang the four men separately, and said they would have to be executed together since they were convicted for the same crime. The court gave the convicts one week’s time to resort to all legal remedies.
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 their mercy pleas to the president.
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 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.