After HC, SC rejects Nirbhaya convict plea; hanging at 5:30 am (2nd Ld)

New Delhi, March 20 (IANS) After a 45 minute hearing, a special three-judge bench of the Supreme Court in the wee hours of Friday rejected the plea of death row convict Pawan Gupta challenging the rejection of second mercy plea by the President Ram Nath Kovind and seeking stay on the death sentence.

Earlier, the Delhi High Court had also trashed the plea of all death row convicts at around 11 p.m.. The entire legal process in the execution of the death sentence has been completed and the hanging of the accused is confirmed at 5.30 a.m..

A special three-judge headed by Justice R Banumathi and comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and A S Bopanna was constituted late in the night to conduct a hearing on Pawan’s plea at 2:30 am. The hearing was concluded at 3.15 am.

“The plea is dismissed”, said the bench after it did not find any merit in Pawan’s petition.

The bench said the petitioner (Pawan) is not right in contending that the plea of juvenility has not been considered by the courts, instead it was duly considered and then rejected by various courts.

“Consistent view of this court is that scope for review of President’s decision in mercy petitions is very limited”, said the bench.

On argument that Pawan did not share common intention to murder in the case, the top court observed that all facts were considered all and then he was found guilty and convicted.

“This cannot be a ground for judicial review of President’s decision,” said the court dismissing Pawan’ plea.

Pawan’s lawyer cited the assassination of ex-Punjab CM Beant Singh, and insisted that Nirbhaya case convicts could also be granted remission like convicts in Singh’s assassination.

Advocate A P Singh representing Pawan Gupta soughy deferment of execution for 1-2 days, as his client would be able to record statement in an assault case. And, at the end of the hearing, Pawan’s counsel insisted that the top court should allow family members of his client and Akshay Singh to meet them for 5-10 minutes before hanging.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta contended before the court that the jail manual rules don’t permit convicts to meet family members before death sentence execution.

“Our judicial system and executive government has ensured justice for all daughters of the country. This example will be a strong and imperishable deterrent”, said Mehta after the hearing.



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