The Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear the plea of Mukesh Kumar Singh, one of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case, against the dismissal of his mercy petition by President Ram Nath Kovind on January 17. Black warrants were issued by the trial court for the execution of all the four convicts - Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Kumar Sharma and Akshay Kumar. The four convicts are slated to be hanged on February 1, at 6 am.
As the last-ditch attempt, Mukesh through his counsel on Tuesday sought an urgent hearing on his plea against the dismissal of the mercy plea before the top court.
"If somebody is going to be hanged then nothing can be more urgent than this," a bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde said while assuring Mukesh's lawyer that his plea would be given due weightage by the mentioning officer.
"Execution case will be given top priority," said the bench, which also comprised Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant.
Later in the day, the mentioning officer considered the urgency of Mukesh's plea and ordered its listing before a three-judge bench comprising Justices R Bhanunathi, Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna at 12.30 pm tomorrow.
Mukesh 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 petition of another death row convict Akshay (31).
The other two convicts, Pawan (25) and Vinay are yet to file curative petitions before the Supreme Court.
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.
Six people -- Mukesh, Vinay, Akshay, Pawan, 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, had 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.
On Saturday, a Delhi court said that no further directions were required on a plea by the lawyer of the death row convicts alleging that prison authorities were not handing over certain documents required to file mercy and curative petitions, and disposed of the petition.
Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Kumar Jain said the convicts' lawyer can take pictures of the relevant documents, diary and paintings from the Tihar jail authorities.
The court had noted that the jail authorities had already complied with the request made by the convicts by supplying the documents whatever was lying with them.