The plea of Mukesh Singh, one of the men who is facing death for raping Nirbhaya, should be taken up on an urgent basis if the execution is on February 1, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said on Monday.
Mukesh's lawyer had approached the apex court challenging the decision of President Ram Nath Kovind to junk his mercy plea.
A 23-year-old, a horrendous rape, and a nation's anger
On December 16, 2012, Nirbhaya boarded a private bus along with her friend but was brutally raped by six, including a juvenile.
After inserting rods into her private parts, thrashing her friend, the convicts dumped them on a road on the chilly winter night.
As India woke up to gut-wrenching details of the crime, it took to streets demanding nothing less than capital punishment.
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Bus driver killed himself, juvenile was let off easy
As pressure mounted, Delhi Police arrested all six accused. Ram Singh, who drove the bus, took his life before sentencing; the juvenile was sent to a correction home for three years; and four others — Mukesh, Vinay, Akshay, and Pawan were rewarded death sentence.
Series of events
A mercy plea delayed the execution date
For years, the high-profile case languished in courts and this month, Patiala House Court announced the four convicts will be hanged on January 22.
The date was postponed after Mukesh approached President Kovind. With his plea's rejection, February 1 became the date of execution.
Meanwhile, Pawan filed another plea stating he was a juvenile at the time of the crime. His appeal was dumped.
Mukesh challenged President Kovind's order in SC
Subsequently, Mukesh went to SC challenging President Kovind's order, and also sought dismissal of the black warrant.
His lawyer Vrinda Grover said, "A petition has been filed under Article 32 for judicial review of the manner of rejection of the mercy petition in terms of the judgment of Supreme Court in Shatrughan Chauhan case."
And today, CJI Bobde asked her to approach the court registry.
Earlier, Mukesh blamed women for rape
Mukesh, who is leaving no stone unturned, had, with a straight face, put the onus on women for rape.
The convict, who featured in Leslee Udwin's 2015 documentary India's Daughter, said, "A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy." He also claimed a "decent girl" wouldn't roam about on the streets after 9 pm.
Notably, the documentary was banned in India.
Convicts shouldn't be allowed to delay execution: Centre to SC
The last-minute efforts of convicts to save them prompted Centre to knock on SC's doors.
Last week, the Ministry of Home Affairs urged the top court to tweak rules so that convicts on death row can't exploit legal loopholes to delay the execution.
The current rules allow convicts to "play with the law", the Centre said in its plea.