The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on a plea of one of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case, challenging the rejection of his mercy petition by the President Ram Nath Kovind on 17 January. A three-judge bench headed by Justice R Banumathi said that it will pronounce the verdict on Wednesday on convict Mukesh Kumar Singh's plea. Appearing for Singh, senior advocate Anjana Prakash claimed that Mukesh was sexually abused in Tihar jail.
Prakash, reading out from Mukesh's petition, said that he was sexually abused in the prison where he has been an inmate since 2013. Mukesh's plea says he had a "living death" in the prison.
Convict Mukesh Singh's lawyer argued before the Supreme Court today that all records were not sent to President Ram Nath Kovind, so his decision to reject mercy was "arbitrary and malafide".
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told a three-judge bench headed by Justice R Banumathi that the convict, Mukesh Kumar Singh, was not kept in solitary confinement as alleged and no ground of commutation has been made out.
Mehta told the bench, also comprising justices Ashok Bhsuhan and A S Bopanna, that the entire material was sent by the Ministry of Home Affairs to President for deciding mercy plea of Singh.
The lawyer also claimed that Mukesh Singh’s co-convict Ram Singh, was murdered in jail but the case was closed as suicide. Ram Singh had been found hanging in his cell in March 2013.
Reading out form Mukesh's plea, Prakash said that Mukesh's plea contends that the suicide of one of the accused was in fact a murder but "it fell on deaf years."
Prakash refers to Kehar Singh case which states that the President may scrutinize the records and may arrive at a different conclusion as regards guilt or sentence. This, however, does not amend or alter the judicial order or records, Prakash says
At every stage you have to apply your mind, you are playing with someone's life, Prakash argues
Singh alleged procedural lapses in dismissal of his mercy plea by the President. He said that certain supervening circumstances, including solitary confinement and procedural lapses have been ignored while considering his mercy plea.
His counsel contended that the executive is not sitting on power of appeal but rather exercising constitutional duty, which is neither a matter of mercy nor grace.
The trial court has issued black warrants for the execution of all the four convicts -- Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Kumar Sharma and Akshay Kumar -- at 6 am on February 1.
The 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who came to be known as "Nirbhaya" (the fearless), was gang-raped 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.