The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition filed by Mukesh Singh, one of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape case, who challenged the rejection of his mercy plea citing "non-application of mind" by the President of India.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice R Banumathi said that expeditious disposal of mercy plea by the president doesn't mean non-application of mind by him. The court also said that alleged sufferings in prison can't be grounds to challenge the rejection of mercy petition.
The bench said all relevant material including judgments pronounced by trial court, high court and Supreme Court were placed before the president when he was considering the mercy plea of the convict.
The bench, also comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna, rejected the contentions of the counsel appearing for Singh, claiming that the entire material of the case was not placed before the president when the mercy plea was being considered.
The bench, while referring to the two files placed before it by the Centre on Tuesday, said that as per the 15 January covering letter which was sent by the Delhi government to the Ministry of Home Affairs, all relevant documents were sent.
The bench noted that detailed judgments of trial court, high court and the Supreme Court, curative petition filed by Singh, his past criminal history and his family background were sent to the home ministry by the Delhi government.
"All the documents were taken into consideration by the president while rejecting the mercy petition," the bench said.
The bench also dealt with submissions advanced by the convict's counsel, who had argued that the mercy plea was rejected at "lightning speed".
Also on Wednesday, Akshay Singh, another fellow convict in the 2012 Delhi gang rape case challenged his execution scheduled on 1 February by filing a curative plea, the last legal resort in the Supreme Court.
Akshay is the third convict to stall his execution using the method in a case, that has long been subjected to criticism for remaining pending.
In December, the top court had rejected Akshay's petition seeking review of his death sentence. A three-judge bench headed by Justice R Banumathi said there were no grounds to review the verdict and the contentions raised by the convict were already considered by the top court in the main judgment.
Akshay had moved the top court seeking clemency on the ground that the "rising pollution" has already increased the mortality rates.
His curative petition is expected to be heard by judges in their chambers and not in an open court, NDTV reported.
If the curative petition is rejected, Akshay Singh will have the option to send a mercy plea to President Ram Nath Kovind.
Besides Akshay and Mukesh, two other convicts – Vinay Sharma, and Pawan Gupta are to be hanged at Delhi’s Tihar Jail on 1 February, for raping and brutally assaulting a paramedical student on a bus on the night of 16 December, 2012, an incident that sparked countrywide protests.
Mukesh Singh and Vinay Sharma's curative petitions have already been rejected by the apex court.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Jan 29, 2020 13:42:11 IST