New Delhi, Jan 25, 2020: A week after his mercy petition against the death sentence was turned down by President Ram Nath Kovind, Nirbhaya case convict Mukesh Singh has challenged the rejection on the grounds of “non-application of mind”.
President Kovind had on January 17 rejected the petition, three days after it was filed. The petition swiftly moved through all the steps as the Delhi government, the Lieutenant Governor and the union home ministry recommended rejection of the petition.
After the rejection, a Delhi court had issued a fresh death warrant for the four convicts - Mukesh Singh (32), Vinay Sharma (26), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) - in the 2012 gang-rape and murder case, which is set to be executed at 6am on February 1.
In his challenge to the mercy plea rejection, Mukesh Singh has argued non-application of mind, one of the five grounds on which judicial review of the order of the President or the Governor under Article 72 or Article 161, as the case may be, is available to death row inmates.
The other grounds are if the order is mala fide, the order has been passed on extraneous or wholly irrelevant considerations, that relevant materials have been kept out of consideration or if the order suffers from arbitrariness.
The latest development comes just hours after the public prosecutor, appearing for the Tihar jail authorities, claimed that the convicts are only adopting "delaying tactics".
The observation came after a Delhi court rejected a petition by the four convicts that sought directions to the prison authorities, alleging they were not handing over certain documents required to file mercy and curative petitions.
Only Mukesh Singh has filed a mercy petition till now. So, the remaining three can still file their own mercy pleas. Also, Akshay and Pawan have not yet filed any curative petitions. The curative petition filed by Vinay was rejected by the Supreme Court.