Uncertainty Looms Over Nirbhaya Convicts' Feb 1 Hanging as New Petition Filed in SC

News18.com

New Delhi: Akshay Singh, one of the four convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape case, on Wednesday challenged his execution using the last legal resort in the Supreme Court known as the curative petition, becoming the third convict to challenge his hanging with the method in the case.

The four convicts -- Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Singh and Pawan Gupta -- are to be executed on February 1 at 7am but the fresh petition is likely to make the hanging unlikely on the due date. A fifth convict, who was a juvenile at the time of the horrific crime, was sent to a remand home and later released.

Last month, Singh had asked the Supreme Court to spare him the death penalty since life in Delhi is anyway getting "short" due to air and water pollution. Singh had raised grounds like the futility of awarding death sentence in 'Kalyug', where a person is no better than a dead body, and that the level of pollution in Delhi NCR was so great that life is short anyhow. The top court had rejected Singh's petition.

The curative petition is likely to be heard by judges in their chambers. If the curative petition is rejected, Singh will have the option to send a mercy plea to President Ram Nath Kovind.

The top court on Wednesday is also likely to give its verdict in a petition by one of the other convicts, Mukesh Kumar Singh, 32, who has challenged the rejection of his mercy request citing "non-application of mind" by the President of India.

The SC will on Wednesday alsopronounce its verdict on a petition filed by Mukesh Kumar Singh challenging the rejection of his mercy petition by President Ram Nath Kovind.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice R Banumathi said that it will pronounce the verdict on convict Mukesh Kumar Singh's plea on Wednesday at 10:30 am.

Mukesh Singh had earlier moved the mercy petition before the President after the Supreme Court had dismissed his curative petition against his conviction and death sentence. President Ram Nath Kovind had, however, rejected the death row convict's mercy plea.

Mukesh Singh and Vinay Sharma's curative petitions have already been rejected.

Last-minute petitions by the convicts in 2012 Delhi gang rape case have been widely seen as desperate attempts to stall their hanging.