Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 13
The Supreme Court will on Friday pronounce its verdict on the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case convict Vinay Sharma’s plea challenging rejection of his mercy petition by President Ram Nath Kovind.
After hearing the arguments from his counsel AP Singh and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta for almost two hours, a three-Judge Bench of Justice R Banumathi reserved its verdict for pronouncement at 2 pm on Friday.
The Bench — which also included Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice AS Bopanna — had earlier dismissed another death row convict Mukesh Kumar Singh’s petition challenging rejection of his mercy plea by the President.
The mercy petition of convict Akshay has also been rejected by the President, while convict Pawan has not yet filed a curative petition — the last legal remedy available to a convict. Pawan also has the option of filing a mercy plea.
The top court deferred hearing on the Centre’s plea seeking separate execution of the four convicts to Friday and asked the convicts to file their counter replies by then. It appointed senior advocate Anjana Prakash as amicus curiae to represent convict Pawan Gupta.
Meanwhile, a Delhi court appointed advocate Ravi Qazi to represent convict Pawan Gupta after he refused to take a lawyer offered by the Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA). Hours after the Supreme Court gave liberty to the authorities to approach the trial court for issuance of fresh date for the execution of the convicts, Nirbhaya’s parents and the Delhi Government had on February 11 moved the trial court for fixing a new date to send them to the gallows.
In his petition, Vinay had alleged that the President’s decision rejecting his mercy plea was communicated to him in jail on January 31 and that the rejection was done in a “mala fide” manner.
Vinay’s counsel demanded commutation of his death sentence to life imprisonment claiming he has “developed mental illness” inside the prison due to the alleged “torture and ill-treatment”.
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