‘Sent without consent’: Nirbhaya convict seeks withdrawal of mercy plea

Vinay Sharma
A curative petition is the last legal remedy available to a convict. Photo: PTI

Vinay Sharma, one of the four convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case, has sought immediate withdrawal of his mercy plea, saying he never authorised it and that he is yet to exhaust all legal remedies available to him.

In a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday (December 7), the convict alleged his mercy plea, which was forwarded to him from the Ministry of Home Affairs, was sent by the Tihar jail authorities with a “malafide intention” and in “criminal conspiracy” with the Delhi government. The Centre had on Friday sent the President the Delhi government’s recommendation rejecting the mercy plea.

Sharma said he was yet to exhaust all legal remedies available to him before filing the mercy plea as he has not filed any curative petition before the Supreme Court.

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“It is therefore prayed to your kind honour that until the exhaustion of the judicial remedies, including those yet to be filed and/or pending in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court by me as well as my co-accused, you may allow me to withdraw this mercy petition which has been filed without my consent and signature,” Sharma said in the letter, sent through his lawyer AP Singh.

“Additionally, you are requested in the interim not to take any decision on my mercy petition,” the letter read. Sharma also said his mercy plea was sent “fraudulently”, without annexing to it any document detailing the mitigating circumstances of his case and by concealing various important facts so that the same is rejected.

The convict pleaded that taking any step on his mercy plea would amount to a grave injustice as he was yet to exhaust all his judicial remedies.

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The Tihar Jail authorities was recently directed by a Delhi court to produce the four convicts before it on December 13 so that they can apprise the court about the status of their petitions.

The court was hearing a plea by the victim’s parents who have sought a direction to the jail authorities to expedite the execution of the convicts. Nirbhaya’s parents had approached the court saying the convicts have exhausted all legal remedies.

In December last year, Nirbhaya’s parents had approached the court to fast-track the procedure to hang all four convicts in the case.

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The Supreme Court on December 12, 2018, had dismissed a PIL seeking direction to the Centre to execute the death penalty awarded to the four convicts — Mukesh, Pawan, Vinay and Akshay — in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case.

Nirbhaya is the changed name of the December 2012 gang rape-cum-murder victim, a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, who was gang-raped and brutalised in moving bus in South Delhi by six persons, including the bus driver, conductors and helpers.

The woman had boarded the nearly vacant bus in Munirka in South Delhi along with her male friend on her way back home on December 16 that year. After raping and brutalising the woman and beating her friend, the assailants had thrown them out of the bus.

After receiving initial treatment in New Delhi for a few days, she was transferred to the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, where she succumbed to her injuries on December 29, 2012.

(With inputs from agencies)

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