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SC junks curative petition of fourth Nirbhaya case convict day before scheduled hanging

Legal News, Nation, (New Delhi), March 2:-The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the curative plea of one of the four death row convicts, Pawan Kumar Gupta, in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case, a day before their scheduled hanging.

The curative petition was considered by a bench of justices NV Ramana, Arun Mishra, RF Nariman, R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan in the chamber of Justice Ramana.

Pawan, 25, against whom the death warrant has been issued for execution on March 3 along with the three other condemned prisoners, had claimed juvenility to seek commutation of sentence to life imprisonment.

He filed the curative plea through lawyer A P Singh seeking setting aside of the apex court’s earlier verdicts on appeals and review petitions in the case.

Pawan was the last death row convict in the case to move the top court with his curative plea, the final legal remedy available to a person.

A 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who came to be known as ‘Nirbhaya’ (fearless), was gang raped and savagely assaulted in a moving bus in South Delhi on December 16, 2012. She died a fortnight later.

Pawan and another convict Akshay Singh also moved a trial court here on Saturday seeking stay on the execution of death warrants. The trial court has issued notice to Tihar Jail authorities on the pleas, directing the officials to file their response by Monday.

While Akshay claimed that he has filed a fresh mercy petition before the President of India, which is pending, Pawan said he moved a curative plea before the Supreme Court.

Akshay has said that his earlier mercy petition that was dismissed by the President did not have complete facts.

In the curative plea before the apex court, Pawan has pleaded that his age on the day of offence was 16 years and two months as per the school records last attended by him and “the age has not been determined in accordance with the procedures laid down under the Juvenile Justice Act”.

This information was suppressed by the State throughout the proceedings, Pawan has claimed. He was the lone convict who had not exhausted his legal remedies of filing a curative petition and subsequent mercy plea with the President.

The trial court on February 17 issued fresh date for execution of death warrants for March 3 at 6 am for the four convicts — Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Kumar Gupta, Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Singh (31) — in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case.

The mercy petitions of three convicts — Mukesh, Vinay and Akshay — have already been dismissed by the President.

The apex court had earlier dismissed separate pleas filed by Mukesh and Vinay challenging the rejection of their mercy petitions by the President. Akshay has not yet challenged the rejection of his mercy petition.

Six people, including the four convicts and a juvenile, were named as accused. Ram Singh, the sixth accused, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar jail days after the trial began in the case. The juvenile was released in 2015 after spending three years in a correctional home.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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