Three of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape case approached the International Court of Justice at The Hague in the Netherlands seeking a stop to their “unlawful execution”, reported PTI. The convicts – Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta – have exhausted all their legal options in India, and are scheduled to be hanged at Tihar Jail in Delhi on March 20 at 5.30 am. Mukesh Singh is the fourth convict.
The three alleged that the investigation that led to their conviction was “flawed” and claimed they had been treated as “guinea pigs”. The plea claimed that all the four convicts had not completed the legal remedies yet. “...legal remedies/cases are already pending for disposal before different courts/constitutional bodies in India on behalf of these death row convicts, but very unfortunately and surprisingly in India, Central Jail Tihar has planned and is going to hang them on March 20,” the plea read.
The convicts claimed they were open to polygraph, lie detector, and brain mapping tests during the inquiry but they were not made available to them, and no reasons were cited for it. The three also appealed to the ICJ to initiate an “urgent investigation” into potential false testimony by the only eyewitness – the woman’s friend – in the case.
“The fact whether the convicts are guilty of culpability or there has been public and media pressure to falsely implicate the convicts or to treat them as guinea pigs to save others and accept the hypothesis that the prosecution has booked them at the instance of some political executives or to save a situation which disturb society perceives as a collective catastrophe on the paradigm of social stability and to sustain its faith in the investigation to keep the precept of rule of law alive,” the petition read.
Earlier on Monday, the Supreme Court rejected the petition of convict Mukesh Singh seeking the restoration of all his legal remedies on the grounds that his former lawyer had misled him, PTI reported. Singh had sought the cancellation of all orders passed by courts and the rejection of his mercy petition by President Ram Nath Kovind, alleging that his lawyer Vrinda Grover had acted against his interests.
“Circumstances say there is no remedy left,” the top court bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and MR Shah said, according to NDTV. “You [Mukesh Singh] have availed mercy plea. It was rejected. Warrants issued. Curative petition has been dismissed. What’s the remedy left?”
The petition, filed by Singh’s advocate ML Sharma, sought an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into a “criminal conspiracy” and “fraud” by the central government, the Delhi government and advocate Vrinda Grover, who is the amicus curiae in the case.
The lawyer argued that his curative petition was dismissed on account of fraud, Bar and Bench reported. He said that the petition was filed before the expiry of the limitation period.
The lawyer also submitted that Grover filed affidavits on behalf of Singh in English, a language he and other convicts do not understand, and did not inform him about the contents of the said affidavits.
Singh had filed the petition seeking the restoration of legal remedies in the top court earlier this month. The petition claimed that the Centre, Delhi government and Grover “knowingly and deliberately” plotted a conspiracy against Singh for vested and political interests. “They compelled him to sign various papers under threat of sessions court order [which was never issued by the sessions court] stating that court has directed her [Grover] to secure various signed documents from him to file various petitions, including curative petition, on his behalf in the high court and the Supreme Court in his death sentence case,” the petition stated.
The four convicts, along with two others, raped and brutally assaulted a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in a moving bus in Delhi in 2012. The woman died of her injuries at a hospital in Singapore two weeks later. The brutality of the crime triggered huge protests in the Capital and across the country. One convict died in prison, while a minor convict was sent to a detention home for juveniles and was released in December 2015.