- Vinay Sharma had cited mental illness to challenge mercy plea rejection
- The centre denied the assertion, saying he was "fit and of sound mind"
- This was part of his last-ditch effort to escape the death sentence
The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition against the rejection of the mercy petition filed by Vinay Sharma, one of the convicts in the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case. The death row convict had claimed in the Supreme Court that President Ram Nath Kovind had not considered the "mental stability" he suffered due to torture in jail while rejecting his mercy petition. The centre denied the assertion, saying he was "fit and of sound mind".
This was part of Vinay Sharma's last-ditch effort to escape the death sentence handed to him and three other convicts for the brutal sexual assault on a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern on December 16, 2012. In his submission, the convict said that all the relevant records -- including one pertaining to his mental illness -- had not been tabled before the president. The centre, however, produced a medical report dated February 12 which showed that he was not suffering from any mental illness.
Amid growing anger and frustration at a judicial system seen to be offering more support to the perpetrators of this horrific crime than its victims, the four convicts have been filing petition after petition in an attempt to delay their execution.
In shocking scenes last month, the convicts' lawyer, AP Singh, bragged to Nirbhaya's mother, Asha Devi that "the hanging will never happen".
A trial court had stayed "until further orders" the execution of four convicts -- Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar (31) -- on January 31.
On December 16, 2012, the young woman who came to be known as "Nirbhaya" was gang-raped by six men, tortured with an iron rod and thrown off the vehicle. She died on December 29.
The savage assault stunned the nation and angry protesters filled the streets demanding justice.
Of the six men, one was found hanging in jail. The youngest, just short of 18 when the crime was committed, was released after three years in a reform home.