Nirbhaya case: SC junks convict Pawan’s plea to commute death penalty to life imprisonment


NEW DELHI | March 2, 2020 (IANS):

The Supreme Court Monday dismissed the curative petition filed by Pawan Gupta, the last of the four convicts on death row in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case. With this, all four have exhausted their legal remedies.

A five-judge bench headed by Justice N. V. Ramana, considered the curative plea in-chamber, also rejected Pawan's application seeking stay on the execution scheduled for Tuesday.

"The application for oral hearing is rejected. The application for stay of execution of death sentence is also rejected. The curative petition is dismissed…," said the bench, also comprising Justices Arun Mishra, R. F. Nariman, R. Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan.

Pawan, in the curative plea, had urged the top court to commute his death penalty to life imprisonment, besides seeking a stay on the execution of black warrant issued by the trial court.

A death warrant was issued against Kumar along with three other condemned prisoners for the execution of death sentence on March 3.

Advocate A. P. Singh, representing Kumar, said he was a juvenile during the time of the commission of the offence, and the death penalty should not be awarded to him. Singh also sought a stay on the execution of the black warrant, on the hanging, issued by the trial court.

He is the only convict who is yet to exhaust all legal remedies — curative petition, which is the final legal remedy available, and the filing of the mercy petition before the President.

Speaking to media persons, Singh had said there have been many errors in the previous judgements and he expects through this curative petition those errors are amended. "Our main contention is that on the time of the commission of the offence, Pawan was attending a musical programme", said Singh.

The top court had earlier dismissed separate pleas filed by Mukesh and Vinay challenging the decision of the President to reject their mercy petitions. Akshay is yet to challenge the rejection of his mercy petition.

A fresh date of execution of death warrant was issued by the trial court on February 17. The trial court fixed the execution on March 3 at 6 a.m. for the four convicts — Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar (31) — in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case. The President has rejected the mercy petitions of three convicts — Mukesh, Vinay and Akshay.

On December 16, 2012, a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern was gang-raped and brutally murdered in a moving bus in South Delhi. She died after a fortnight.

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