Nirbhaya Rape: Death row convict, Vinay Sharma moves Supreme Court challenging rejection of mercy plea
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Nirbhaya Rape: Death row convict, Vinay Sharma moves Supreme Court challenging rejection of mercy plea

Vinay has contended that the rejection of his mercy plea is bad in law on account of bias and non-application of mind.

Meera Emmanuel

Vinay Sharma, a death row convict in the Nirbhaya rape case has moved a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the rejection of his mercy petition by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind.

Vinay moved the Supreme Court contending that the rejection of his mercy plea by the President is bad in law and liable to be set aside since it was underscored by bias and non-application of mind.

“… public statements made by several ministers in the Council of Ministers in the Delhi Government as well as the Union Government reflect that they strongly support the execution of the Petitioner and had therefore pre-judged the outcome of is mercy petition, even before it was filed by the Petitioner. “
Vinay Sharma

Inter alia, Vinay has argued that there are relevant considerations that can be taken up in judicial review over the matter. However, the same would also require the disclosure of the original records concerning the rejection of his mercy plea. RTI applications made by the petitioner in this regard did not yield any reply. Vinay has contended that without these documents being furnished, he cannot exercise his rights under Article 21 of the Constitution to agitate against the rejection of the mercy plea.

On post-conviction mental illness as a ground for commutation

Vinay has also argued that the death penalty served on him ought to be commuted on account of mental health problems he has developed over the course of his incarceration. In his petition, Vinay argues that his imprisonment was marked by relentless and excruciating torture from the day of his arrest by both prison officials and other inmates.

He also submits that he was kept in illegal solitary and segregated confinement for over a year. Owing to his degrading treatment in jail, Vinay has submitted that he has developed serious physical and mental health problems. To support his submissions, Vinay also details various medical records concerning his physical injuries. He further submits that he has exhibited symptoms of severe depression.

In view of these submissions, he has relied on the Supreme Court’s recent judgment in X vs State of Maharashtra (2019) to argue that the death penalty imposed on him ought to be commuted.

The prayers made by Vinay before the Court include that:-

  • The Supreme Court quash the President’s rejection of his mercy petition as bad in law;

  • The Supreme Court commute his death sentence to on of life imprisonment.

The petition has been drawn and filed by Advocates AP Singh and Geeta Chauhan through AOR, Advocate Sadashiv.

Over the course of the past few weeks, the Supreme Court has dismissed curative petitions and challenges to the President of India's rejection of mercy pleas filed by the convicts in the case. Recently, the top Court also rejected the plea by one of the convicts, Pawan, claiming that he was a juvenile when the crime was committed

However, the fact that Pawan is yet to exhaust all his legal remedies has stood in the way of executing any of the convicts in the case, particularly after the Delhi High Court ruled that the death row convicts could not be executed separately.

The Supreme Court today agreed to hear a plea filed by the Central government challenging the High Court order, while also allowing the Tihar Jail authorities to move a trial court to seek a fresh date for the execution of the death warrant against the four convicts.

[Read the Petition]

Vinay vs UOI (challenge to rejection of mercy petition).pdf
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