Hours after one of the four men sentenced to death in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case filed a curative petition in the Supreme Court, another convict, Mukesh Singh, filed a plea in the top court this evening. A curative petition is the last legal option against the death sentence.
Earlier today, Vinay Sharma had approached the top court, two days after a Delhi court declared that the four rapists will be hanged at 7 am on January 22.
Mukesh Singh, 32, Pawan Gupta, 25, Vinay Sharma, 26, and Akshay Kumar Singh, 31, will be executed together at Tihar jail, where officials had started preparing a month ago, the court had said on Tuesday.
All four reportedly broke down in jail after the death warrant. The death warrant has to be executed in 14 days, according to the order, and the convicts have this period to use exercise their remedies.
"To eliminate systemic and political bias against the Petitioner, it is imperative that this case be reheard in open court by the senior-most judges of this Hon'ble Court without the Damocles sword of an execution warrant handing over the proceedings (sic)," Vinay Sharma said in his petition in the Supreme Court.
The centre had last month recommended to President Ram Nath Kovind the rejection of a request for mercy by Vinay Sharma.
The Supreme Court has already turned down review petitions against the death sentence from three of the convicts, and a mercy petition from a fourth has been turned down.
Last month, the Supreme Court had dismissed the last review petition filed by Akshay Kumar Singh. Nirbhaya's parents then asked a lower court to issue a death warrant but the judge had deferred a decision until Tuesday.
The 23-year-old woman was raped on the intervening night of December 16 and 17, 2012 inside a moving bus in south Delhi by six people. She was violated with an iron rod when she protested. Her friend was beaten severely, and both were thrown out of the bus at a secluded spot. She died 13 days later, on December 29, in Singapore.
While the court said the four men will be hanged on January 22, two more were accused in the case. Ram Singh was found hanging in his cell and the sixth, who was just short of 18 when the crime was committed, was released after three years in a reform home.