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Nirbhaya case: Convicts set to hang as Supreme Court dismisses curative pleas


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the curative petitions filed by two convicts of the December 16 Delhi gangrape-murder case, Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Singh, who had questioned the death sentence handed to them.

Vinay and Mukesh, along with two other convicts Akshay Kumar Singh and Pawan Kumar, are scheduled to be hanged at 7 am on January 22.

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court heard the curative petitions of Vinay and Mukesh on Tuesday.

The in-chamber hearing by Justices N.V. Ramana, Arun Mishra, R.F. Nariman, R. Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan ruled that the review verdict of the top court earlier had not erred in granting the accused death penalty.

Akshay and Pawan are yet to file their curative petitions. After exhausting all legal remedies to get the death sentence commuted, the convicts’ last resort is presidential mercy.

According to the lawyers associated with the case, the other two convicts will also file curative petitions soon.

In their petition, Vinay had cited the Jessica Lall murder case, stating that Manu Sharma was given life imprisonment and not death sentence despite it being a brutal and unprovoked murder of a defenseless woman.

"The convict was a very powerful person from a political family. This inequity of outcome between the petitioner's case and those mentioned above highlights the fundamental divide in the criminal justice system where the poor and the weak always suffer the 'worst punishments', even when people from other classes are guilty of offenses that are barbaric and heinous. It also indicates a systematic bias against the poor which has caused prejudice against the petitioner," the plea reads.

The four were convicted and sentenced to death for raping a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus in the national capital on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012.

The victim, who was later given the name Nirbhaya, had succumbed to injuries at a hospital in Singapore where she had been airlifted for medical treatment.

A curative petition is the last judicial resort available for the redressal of grievances. Curative petitions are decided in-chambers by the judges.

If it is rejected, they are legally bound to move a mercy petition. It is filed before the President who has the power to commute it to life imprisonment.

The court after issuing a black warrant in their name gave them two weeks' time to file both the curative and mercy petitions.