SC rejects Nirbhaya convict Akshay’s curative plea

Delhi gang rape case convicts (clockwise from top left): Akshay Thakur, Mukesh Singh, Vinay and Pawan Gupta whose death sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court in New Delhi on Friday.  

A curative petition filed by Akshay Kumar Singh, sentenced to death in the Nirbhaya gang rape case, was on Thursday rejected by a five-judge Bench led by Justice N.V. Ramana. 

The Bench dismissed the plea via circulation in their chambers, observing that they found no merit in his plea to be spared the gallows. It also found no merit in his plea to stay the execution of his death sentence. The date fixed for the execution of the death warrant is February 1.

Delhi court’s directive

Amid this development, a Delhi court asked the Tihar Jail authorities to respond to a plea made by the Nirbhaya convicts for a stay on the execution of their death sentence. Special Judge A.K. Jain ordered the jail officials to file their reply by 10 a.m. on January 31. Advocate A.P. Singh, representing convict Vinay Kumar Sharma, asked the court to adjourn the executions sine die as legal remedies of some of the convicts were yet to be availed. The prosecution said the application was a mockery of justice and a delaying tactic.

Also read: Nirbhaya convicts move court seeking stay on executions

The Supreme Court has so far rejected the curative petitions of three Nirbhaya convicts, including Akshay’s. On January 14, it dismissed the curatives of Mukesh Singh and Vinay Sharma.

Curative is a rare remedy devised by a Constitution Bench of the court in its judgment in the Rupa Ashok Hurra case in 2002. A party can take only two limited grounds in a curative petition - one, that he was not heard by the court before the adverse judgment was passed; and two, the judge was biased.

A curative petition, which follows the dismissal of review petition, is the last legal avenue open for convicts in the court. Vinay was the first among the four convicts to file a curative.

Besides Justice Ramana, the Bench comprised Arun Mishra, Rohinton Nariman, R. Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan.

The court recently dismissed a plea by Mukesh challenging the rejection of his mercy plea by the President on January 17. He moved thecourt shortly after theit rejected a juvenility plea made by another Nirbhaya convict, Pawan Kumar Gupta. Pawan had claimed he was a juvenile at the time of the crime.

Akshay, Mukesh, Pawan and Vinay had brutally gangraped a 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012. She died of her injuries a few days later.

An accused, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in the Tihar Jail. A juvenile, who was among the accused, was convicted by a juvenile justice board. He was released from a reformation home after serving a three-year term.

The Centre recently moved an application for fixing strict guidelines for carrying out the death sentence, saying that convicts tend to misuse the legal process by repeatedly filing a variety of pleas in the court.

The Chief Justice of India recently observed orally that the death row convicts cannot seek legal remedies endlessly and it was important that the death penalty reaches finality.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Printable version | Mar 9, 2021 10:13:09 AM |

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