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Nirbhaya Case : SC Reserves Order On Vinay Sharma's Challenge Against Rejection Of Mercy Plea By President

13 Feb 2020 7:36 AM GMT
Nirbhaya Case : SC Reserves Order On Vinay Sharma
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The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its judgment on the petition filed by Vinay Sharma, one among the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya case, against the rejection of his mercy petition by President Ram Nath Kovind.

A bench comprising Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna will pronounce verdict tomorrow at 2 PM.

Advocate A P Singh, appearing for Vinay Sharma, submitted that relevant documents like medical reports were not forwarded to the President for deciding the mercy petition. He also submitted that Sharma was undergoing psychological problems due to ill-treatment in jail and solitary confinement, which was imposed on him violating prison norms.

He cited the 2014 judgment of the Supreme Court in "Shatrughan Chauhan" case which held that death penalty of convicts with mental illness should be commuted.

Refuting the submissions of Singh, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta handed over documents to the bench to show that relevant materials were placed before the President. 

""He (Vinay Sharma) has been regularly checked. There is a jail psychiatrist and everybody is checked; these are routine check-ups. The latest medical report also shows that he has been found to be in good physical health", SG told the bench.

The Home Ministry recommended the rejection of clemency on the basis of its finding that the case belonged to "rarest of rarest category".

"We have not considered any material which is extraneous. Everyone has applied his mind. The guidelines have been followed. Everything has been done. And after that, the President has rejected the petitions", the Solicitor General said.

Vinay Sharma's writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India was filed on February 11, the last day of the seven days time granted by the Delhi High Court for the convicts to exhaust their available legal remedies.

The Supreme Court had on January 29 dismissed a similar writ petition filed by another convict, Mukesh Singh, against the rejection of mercy petition. A bench comprising Justices R Banumathi ,Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna held in that case that there was only a limited scope of judicial review over the Presidential order, and held that no ground was made out to interfere with the rejection order.

The convicts were scheduled to be executed on February 1 at 6 AM, as per an order issued by Patiala House court on January 17.

This order was stayed by trial court until further orders on January 31 on the ground that all the convicts have not exhausted their every legal remedies. Mercy petitions of two of the convicts were pending then. The trial court held that these convicts cannot be executed separately, as they were sentenced by a common order.

Though the Centre challenged this order before the Delhi High Court, the HC did not interfere with it. The HC, noting the "delaying tactics" adopted by the convicts, however directed that they should exhaust their remedies within seven days starting from February 5.

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