SC reserves order on Nirbhaya convict's petition against mercy plea rejection

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved the order on the issue of rejection of mercy petition of Vinay Kumar Sharma, one of the convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case. A bench of Justice R Banumathi heard the case and the order has been reserved for Friday at 2 pm. 

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of the Delhi government, said that convict Vinay Sharma was not kept in solitary confinement as it was argued by convict's lawyer AP Singh in the Supreme Court. 

"He (convict Vinay Sharma) was not kept in solitary confinement, as argued by advocate AP Singh. There is a limited scope of judicial review, as the President of India had rejected the mercy petition after SC reserved order duly considering and applying his mind: Mehta said. 

"The Home Minister did not do it (dispose off the matter) immediately as the Joint Secretary and Home Secretary discussed the matter in a detailed manner. 

The crime committed by the convict, Vinay Kumar Sharma, fell in the rarest of the rare category and did not fall in the category of mercy," he added. 

Lawyer AP Singh, representing Vinay, had earlier argued that the convict was kept in illegal confinement and 'illegally tortured' in Tihar Jail. "Vinay Sharma was kept in illegal confinement. He (Vinay) was illegally tortured in Tihar jail prison. I am here only to seek justice, where can I go for justice? That is why I am pleading here before the court for justice. They are not terrorists. they are not habitual offenders. These are the grounds for mercy to these convicts," Singh said. 

He claimed that there has been a history of physical assaults on Vinay. "Vinay had been sent for psychiatric treatment on many occasions. The petitioner has suffered adverse mental condition and faced immense trauma," he said. 

The lawyer added, "Vinay should have been treated with proper medical treatment for his poor mental health. He was provided complete medical treatment for his mental illness," Singh added that the 'non-application' of mind by President of India is one ground for commutation of death sentence to life imprisonment.

"Why the mercy petition is rejected by the President of India so hurriedly? What is the need of doing it so hurriedly by the President of India? Justice hurried is justice buried. Bifurcation of crime, committed by accused (convict) persons, was not done properly by the investigation team in the case," he stated. 

Vinay filed the petition in the top court against President Ram Nath Kovind's decision to reject his mercy plea. The convict, through his lawyer AP Singh, has requested the death penalty to be commuted to life imprisonment. 

On February 1, Vinay's mercy petition was rejected by the President On January 31, the death sentence of four convicts Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur were stayed by a lower court till further orders. 

All the four convicts are currently lodged in Tihar Jail. The case pertains to the gang-rape and brutalising of a 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus on the night of December 16, 2012, by six people including a juvenile in Delhi. 

She died at a Singapore hospital a few days later. One of the five adults accused, Ram Singh, had allegedly committed suicide in the Tihar Jail during the trial of the case. 

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