The centre today confirmed that it has received the Arvind Kejriwal government's recommendation against the mercy plea of a convict in the 2012 Delhi gangrape case, and said that the document will be examined on merit before being sent to President Ram Nath Kovind.
"The file rejecting the mercy plea was forwarded by Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to the Home Ministry," a senior functionary in the Home Ministry told NDTV. President Kovind will have the final word on the matter, he added.
Vinay Sharma, one of the four convicts sentenced to death for the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedical student on a moving bus on December 16, 2012, had filed the mercy petition before President Kovind. The woman, now widely known as "Nirbhaya", had died of her injuries days after the brutal assault. The incident led to massive protests across the nation, with many demanding that the four convicts be executed on priority.
A week ago, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called for the rejection of the mercy petition to set an example for others who may feel inclined to commit such a crime in the future. "I think strict action should be taken in such cases, so that people think 10 times before doing something like this. This is why the Delhi government recommended that the President should not show any leniency in this case," he told reporters.
The Chief Minister also expressed regret over the delay in executing the convicts' death sentence, a grievance expressed repeatedly by the rape victim's family for many years now. "There is no shortfall in our laws, the problem lies with those who implement them. Even in our case, delays happened due to those in the administration," Badrinath Singh, her father, told NDTV a few days ago.
The National Commission for Women also urged President Kovind to reject the mercy petition, saying that only the death sentence would deter others from committing such crimes against women and girls.
Incidentally, the Delhi government's rejection of the mercy plea comes at a time of nationwide outrage over the gang rape and murder of a 26-year-old veterinarian near Hyderabad. Four people have been arrested in connection with the incident, which occurred on November 27.