No legal option left for Nirbhaya convict as President rejects mercy plea

Updated: Jan 18, 2020, 07:48 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

Delhi court issues fresh death warrant for February 1, 6 am, against the four convicts in the gang-rape and murder case.

Nirbhaya's mother flashes the victory sign. Pic/PTI
Nirbhaya's mother flashes the victory sign. Pic/PTI

New Delhi: Mukesh Singh, one of the four men on death row in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case, on Friday exhausted all his legal options with President Ram Nath Kovind rejecting his mercy plea and the Home Ministry sending it on to the Delhi government, officials said. On Friday, a Delhi court issued a fresh death warrant for February 1, 6 am, against the four convicts. The president's rejection of Mukesh's mercy plea came after the Union Home Ministry forwarded the petition to his office late on Thursday night. On Friday, after he turned down the mercy plea, the ministry sent it to the Delhi government -- Tihar Jail, where the four men have been lodged, comes under the Delhi government. Officials said the petition was sent to the Delhi government for the dissemination of information to prison authorities. "It's a very good thing. Our hopes have gone up after the disheartening news that the execution might be delayed," the young woman's father told PTI as news came in of the rejection.

"We are happy that the chances of them getting hanged have increased. We are assured that as soon as they file mercy pleas they will be rejected," he added. Singh had filed his mercy petition two days ago. The 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who came to be known as 'Nirbhaya' (fearless), was gangraped and savagely assaulted on the night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in South Delhi. She died of her injuries a fortnight later in a Singapore hospital. The brutality of the crime shook the nation, leading to country-wide protests and a change in India's rape laws. Six people -- Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Kumar Singh, Pawan Gupta, Ram Singh and a juvenile -- were named as accused. The trial of the five adult men began in a special fast-track court in March 2013. The prime accused, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself in Tihar jail days after the trial began.

The juvenile, who was said to be the most brutal of the attackers, was put in a correctional home for three years. He was released in 2015 and sent to an undisclosed location amid concerns over a threat to his life. The juvenile, when released, was 20 years old. Mukesh, Vinay, Akshay and Pawan were convicted and sentenced to death in September 2013. They were to be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar Jail, a Delhi court had announced on January 7 while issuing their death warrants. However, the Delhi government informed the high court during a hearing that the execution of the convicts will not take place on the designated day as a mercy plea had been filed by Mukesh. "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," a Home Ministry official said on Friday morning. Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal's office sent Mukesh Singh's mercy petition to the Home Ministry on Thursday, a day after the Delhi government recommended its rejection.

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