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‘Nothing more urgent than this’: CJI on Delhi gang-rape convict’s plea

Mukesh Singh, one of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case, has sought an urgent hearing in the Supreme Court on his plea against the dismissal of his mercy plea by President Ram Nath Kovind, news agency PTI reported on Monday. Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde told his lawyer to move Supreme Court Registry for urgent listing of his plea.

“If somebody is going to be hanged then nothing can be more urgent than this,” the CJI said and asked Singh’s counsel to approach the mentioning officer today as the hanging is scheduled on February 1.

The bench also comprised justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant.

Singh had approached the top court on Saturday challenging the rejection of his mercy plea by President Kovind. The President had rejected his petition on January 17 within a span of just four days – in the fastest decision ever on a such a plea.

Singh had relied on the guidelines laid down in the judgment by the top court in 2014 in the Shatrughan Chauhan vs Union of India case and assailed the manner in which the mercy plea was rejected.

Singh’s unsuccessful attempt to get a presidential pardon had necessitated a fresh death warrant and pushed the execution of the four convicts from January 22 to February 1.

Mukesh Singh is one of the five men and one juvenile who had raped and brutally assaulted a 23-year-old woman in a moving bus in Delhi on December 16, 2012, leading to nationwide outrage.

The victim died on December 29 from the injuries in a hospital in Singapore where she was airlifted for treatment.

One of the accused committed suicide in Tihar jail during the trial while the juvenile accused was sent to a reform house and released three years later.

Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur were convicted and sentenced to death by the trial court in 2013. The conviction and sentence were confirmed by the Delhi high court in 2014 and the Supreme Court in May 2017.

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