The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its order on a plea of Mukesh Kumar Singh, one of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape and murder case, against the rejection of mercy petition by President Ram Nath Kovind on 17 January.
A bench of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna said it will pronounce the verdict on Wednesday.
Justice Bhanumati said the Supreme Court's power to review President’s rejection of a mercy plea is limited, and it can only verify if all relevant documents were placed before the President.
Senior counsel Anjana Prakash, representing Singh, claimed there were procedurals lacunas in the case. Prakash said the mercy petition was rejected shortly after the curative petition and due consideration was not given to the mercy plea.
She said not all necessary documents were considered or given to the President. Neither the trial court judgment nor the jailor’s report was placed before the President in line with the Supreme Court judgement on the Shatrughan Chauhan case.
The counsel also alleged that the convict and his brother Ram Singh were sexually abused in Tihar jail. Prakash claimed that Mukesh Kumar Singh was put in solitary confinement which can only be ordered after the rejection of a mercy petition.
Prakash alleged that Ram Singh, who had reportedly committed suicide inside the prison, was in fact murdered.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said all necessary documents were placed before the President, including the medical report certifying the convict’s fitness. He said allegations of sexual abuse and solitary confinements were not valid grounds to grant mercy.
The execution of death sentence for the four convicts in the case has been fixed for 1 February at 6 am.
Singh had moved the mercy plea after the Supreme Court dismissed his curative petition against his conviction and death sentence. The apex court had also rejected the curative petitions of death row convicts Mukesh and Vinay Sharma.
The other convicts, Pawan Gupta and Akshay Kumar Singh, are yet to file curative petitions before the Supreme Court.
While hearing the appeal against the rejection of mercy petition of Mukesh Kumar Singh, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde had said, "Execution case will be given top priority."
On 16 December 2012, the 23-year-old woman was brutally assaulted and raped by six persons in a moving bus in south Delhi, an incident which triggered nationwide protests. She died from her injuries on 29 December at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.