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Odishatv Bureau

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the curative petitions filed by two Nirbhaya gang rape and murder convicts - Vinay Kumar and Mukesh - who questioned the death sentence handed down by trial court and upheld by the Delhi High Court and the apex court.

A five-judge bench of Justices N.V. Ramana, Arun Mishra, R.F. Nariman, R. Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan unanimously held that there was no merit in the curative petitions of the convicts, who sought reconsideration of death penalty.

"In our opinion, no case is made out within the parameters indicated in the decision of this Court in Rupa Ashok Hurra vs. Ashok Hurra & Another, reported in 2002 (4) SCC 388. Hence, the Curative Petitions are dismissed," said the court order.

The curative petitions were taken up in chamber, without the presence of the lawyers of the convicts, by the bench headed by Justice Ramana. The in-chambers review is the procedure to consider curative and review petitions.

The five judge bench also dismissed plea of the convicts to stay the execution of the death sentence. "The applications for oral hearing are rejected. The applications for stay of execution of death sentence are also rejected," said the court.

After a 23-year-old woman was gangraped and tortured on December 16, 2012, leading to her death, all six accused were arrested and charged with sexual assault and murder.

One of the accused was a minor and appeared before a juvenile justice court, while another accused committed suicide in Tihar Jail. The four convicts were sentenced to death by a trial court in September 2013, and the verdict confirmed by the Delhi High Court in March 2014 and upheld in May 2017 by the Supreme Court, which also dismissed their review petitions.

Vinay Sharma in the curative petition said his entire family suffered due to the criminal proceedings. "The petitioner is not the only person being punished; his entire family has suffered greatly as a result of the criminal proceedings. The family faced societal wrath and humiliation for no fault of theirs.

"The petitioner's parents are old and extremely poor. The case has been a huge drain on their resources and now they are left almost empty handed," stated the curative petition filed through senior advocate Adhis C. Aggarwala and Advocate A.P. Singh.

"The petitioner's father earns a meagre living. The family has no savings and lives in the R.K. Puram Harijan Basti. If the petitioner is executed, his entire family will be destroyed," it stated.

The plea further said the state had no evidence in the form of psychiatric structured clinical judgment, based on the appellant's life in the prison (around 7 years) and life prior to it, in the background of his mental impairment, his adjustment to and interaction with other inmates and officials.

Mukesh, one of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case, moved the Delhi High Court challenging the death warrant issued against him.

"The petitioner's Constitutional right to seek mercy will be rendered infructuous if the execution warrant dated 7.1.2020 is not stayed," Mukesh said in his petition filed through his lawyer A.P. Singh.

The plea sought for directions for setting aside the trial court order and not to give effect to the order for execution of death sentence on January 22.

"On 14.1.2020, after exhausting all his legal remedies pertaining to the merits of his case and the sentence of death awarded to him, the Petitioner exercised his constitutional right to seek mercy and addressed a mercy petition to the Hon'ble Lt. Governor of NCT of Delhi under Article 161 and Hon'ble President of India under Article 72 of the Constitution of India. The Petitioner's mercy petition dated 14.1.2020 was filed and submitted with the Superintendent of Jail, Tihar Jail No 2, where the Petitioner is currently lodged," the plea said.

"However, the Petitioner's constitutional right to seek mercy will be rendered infructuous if the execution warrant dated 7.1.2020 is not stayed. Furthermore, the guidelines passed by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India in Shatrughan Chauhan case holding that there must be a minimum of 14 days' notice between the communication of rejection of mercy petition and the scheduled date of execution, must also be kept in mind, before a scheduled date of execution can be fixed, should the mercy petition be dismissed by the Hon'ble President of India," the plea said further.


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