The Supreme Court on Monday quashed the curative petitions filed by Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Singh – two death row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case (aka the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder incident).
A five-judge bench of Justices NV Ramana, Arun Mishra, RF Nariman, R Banumathi, and Ashok Bhushan heard the petition and subsequently rejected the pleas of the two convicted rapists.
Vinay and Mukesh had filed the curative petition after a Delhi Court had earlier issued a death warrant in their name, in connection with the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder incident. However, Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora had added while issuing the death warrant that the convicts can use their legal remedies within 14 days. After the court fixed the date of execution of the Nirbhaya case convicts as January 22, the lawyer representing the convicts, AP Singh, had said that a curative petition will be filed at the Supreme Court.
Besides Vinay and Mukesh, the two other convicts are Akshay Kumar and Pawan Gupta. All four convicts involved in the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case have been sentenced to death by hanging on January 22 at 7 AM.
Before the hearing on Tuesday, Asha Devi, the mother of the 2012 Delhi gang-rape victim, had said that the curative petition had been filed by the convicts to ‘stall’ the judicial process. “They (convicts) have filed a petition (curative plea) before the Supreme Court just to stall the process. I am very hopeful that their petition will be rejected today. They will be hanged on January 22 and Nirbhaya will get justice,” Asha Devi told news agency ANI today.
Nirbhaya’s mother has been fighting a long and hard legal battle for over seven years, determined to see the criminals hanged. To be precise, it took exactly 7 years, 22 days for her to see the light of justice. Why the legal system in this country is so wound-up that it takes such an abnormally long time to close a case, even after the establishment of a fast-track court for the proceedings, remains up for investigation later.
After the 23-year-old psychotherapy intern, dubbed ‘Nirbhaya’, was brutally gang-raped and murdered in Munirka, a neighbourhood in South Delhi on December 16, 2012, the incident generated tremendous public outroar and media coverage demanding justice for the victim.
The accused in the case – Akshay Kumar, Pawan Gupta, Mukesh Singh, Ram Singh, Vinay Sharma, and a minor boy – were promptly arrested under charges of sexual assault and murder. In 2013, one of the accused, Ram Singh, died in police custody of possible suicide. All of the remaining accused were convicted by a fast-track trial court of rape and murder, and while the juvenile was given the maximum sentence of three years imprisonment at a reform facility, the rest were sentenced to death by hanging. Subsequently, the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court upheld this judgment.
Earlier in December, a plea was filed by the victim’s parents to expedite the death sentence of the four convicts. The accused were pronounced before the court via video conferencing. The media was asked to leave the courtroom. Paramilitary forces were deployed outside the court.
This was a brief history of the case proceedings. Finally, on January 7, the Delhi Court ordered the issuing of the death warrants against all four convicts of the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case and fixed the date for the execution as January 22.