Indian’s President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday, rejected the mercy plea filed by Mukesh Singh, one of the convicts of the infamous 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape and murder.
The decision came just a few hours after the Union Home Ministry forwarded it.
Earlier on Friday, the federal Home Ministry had recommended that President Kovind reject Mukesh Singh’s plea for mercy. The president had dismissed the appeals of two other convicts back in December.
Disappointed by the delay, the mother of the victim blamed political leaders, accusing them of playing politics over the death of her daughter and delaying justice for her.
“People who held protests on streets in 2012, today the same people are only playing with my daughter’s death for political gains,” said Nirbhaya’s mother, Asha Devi.
A Delhi court said the date for execution must be stayed while the mercy petition is pending.
“I am not reviewing my order to pass a death warrant. There will be a stay on the execution of the death warrant since a mercy plea is there,” media quoted the judge as saying.
The statement from Nirbhaya’s mother came after India’s federal Information, and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar slammed the Delhi government for delaying the filings of mercy pleas by the convicts Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur.
“Why did the Delhi government not give notice to the convicts to file mercy pleas in the last two-and-a-half years?” Javedkar asked on 16 January.
A senior Delhi-based criminal lawyer M.S. Khan, however, clarified that filing a mercy petition is the legal right of the convicts and they can choose to do it at any time, without any interference by the government rushing or delaying it.
With his plea rejected, Mukesh is entitled to 14 days to avail the remedies required before execution, and the trial court would have to issue a fresh warrant.
Nirbhaya was gang-raped in a moving bus on the night of 16 December 2012 in south-west Delhi, while she was returning from a movie with a male friend.
The brutality of the rape-case shook the nation that erupted in candle marches and protests.
34-year old Ram Singh, one of the six rapists who was involved in the brutal case committed suicide in India’s Tihar Jail in 2013. A second accused, who was a juvenile at the time of the crime walked free after serving a jail term.
Sputnik / New Delhi
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