A mercy petition filed by Mukesh Singh, one of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya case – was forwarded to President Ram Nath Kovind by the Union Home Ministry with a recommendation to reject it. The petition, which represents the convict’s last possible appeal before his execution is carried out, was filed on Tuesday after the Supreme Court dismissed curative pleas filed by him and Vinay Sharma, another convict.
A home ministry official while quoted by news agency PTI said, “The Home Ministry has forwarded the mercy petition of Mukesh Singh to the President. The ministry has reiterated the recommendation of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi for its rejection.”
Vinay Sharma, Mukesh Singh, Akshay Kumar Singh, and Pawan Gupta were to be hanged next Wednesday at 7 am in Delhi’s Tihar jail, the trial court judge had declared last week, signing a death warrant seven years after a young medical student was gang-raped on a moving bus, tortured and killed in December 2012.
However, on Thursday, five days before the scheduled execution date, Tihar Jail officials asked for a new date, saying the executions could not take place till after all mercy petitions filed by the convicts are settled.
The three other convicts have yet to file their respective mercy petitions.
Mukesh Singh and Vinay Sharma’s last legal appeal against their death sentence — a curative petition — was dismissed by a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday last.
Following the rejection of a mercy petition, a convict is given a 14-day period of reprieve before the execution is carried out.
Nirbhaya’s mother, fearing more delay in the execution of the four men, said she had been going to many courts for years but wanted justice now. “If they have rights, we too have the right to justice for our daughter who was killed seven years ago,” she said.