With three days remaining for the scheduled execution of four convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape-murder case, the Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed convict Mukesh Singh's plea seeking judicial review of the rejection of his mercy petition by the President.
With this decision by the top court, Mukesh has exhausted the last legal remedy available to him against the death sentence.
A bench of Justices R. Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A.S. Bopanna said that all the relevant documents connected with the case were placed before the President and then a decision was taken on his mercy petition.
The court also observed that the alleged ill-treatment and cruelty in jail is no ground to grant mercy to the convict.
Also, Mukesh's counsel's contention that there was non-application of mind while rejecting his mercy petition was rejected by the court. Counsel had submitted that there was non-application of mind in rejection of the petitioner's mercy petition, as it was rejected with lightning speed.
The top court observed that the note put up before the President is a detailed one with all the relevant materials, and upon consideration of the same, the mercy petition was rejected. "Merely because there was quick consideration and rejection of the petitioner's mercy petition, it cannot be assumed that the matter was proceeded with predetermined mind," it said.
Mukesh's counsel had alleged his client was also sexually tortured in jail and his sufferings there had not been taken into consideration while rejecting his mercy petition.
To this, the court ruled: "The alleged sufferings in prison cannot be a ground for judicial review of the executive order passed under Article 72 of the Constitution rejecting the petitioner's mercy petition."
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will consider in-chamber the curative petition of another convict Akshay challenging the death penalty.
A five-judge bench, headed by Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices Arun Mishra, R.F. Nariman, Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan, will consider the petition at 1 pm. Earlier, the apex court had dismissed the curative petitions of Mukesh and Vinay.