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New Delhi, February 14, 2020
The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the plea of Vinay Sharma, one of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case, challenging the rejection of his mercy petition by the President.
A bench of Justices R. Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna said that, as pointed out earlier, the case records, judgments of the trial court, the High Court and the Supreme Court, clean copy of records of the case, nominal roll of the petitioner, medical report of the petitioner, Social Investigation Report and other relevant documents were forwarded to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
"The note put up before the President of India is a detailed one and all the relevant materials were placed before the President and upon consideration of same, the mercy petition was rejected," the court said.
As a result, it said: "We do not find any ground for exercise of judicial review of the order of the President of India rejecting the petitioner's mercy petition and this writ petition is liable to be dismissed."
Sharma's counsel contended bias was caused to his client's case due to the statements made by ministers in Delhi government and also at the central level. The court replied that the public statements said to have been made by the ministers, "cannot be said to have any bearing on the "aid and advice" tendered by the Council of Ministers of Delhi to the Lt Governor or by Council of Ministers in the Central Government to the President."
The apex court observed that the medical report suggested he is stable and dismissed Sharma's contention that he is mentally ill, and also rejected his plea of solitary confinement as a ground to challenge the rejection of the mercy plea.
The trial court had on January 31 stayed "till further orders" execution of the four convicts in the case -- Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar (31), who are lodged in Tihar Jail.
The court noted that Social Investigation Report containing the economic conditions of the family of the petitioner was enclosed as enclosures with the mercy plea. "There is no merit in the contention that the Social Investigation Report was not placed before the President for consideration and the relevant materials were kept out of consideration of the President," said the court.
Sharma's counsel contended that signatures of Delhi Home Minister and the LG were not obtained on the original files, which recommended rejection of his mercy plea. As far as other convicts are concerned, Akshay's mercy petition has also been rejected by the President, Pawan is yet to file a curative petition and mercy petition, while Mukesh has exhausted all the legal remedies.
The 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who came to be known as 'Nirbhaya' (fearless), was gang-raped and brutally assaulted on the night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in south Delhi. She succumbed to her injuries later in a Singapore hospital.