The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear on January 20 a plea of a death row convict in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case against a Delhi High Court order dismissing his claim of being a juvenile at the time of commission of the offence.

A bench of Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bushan and A S Bopanna will hear the plea of Pawan Kumar Gupta. Gupta moved the apex court on Friday challenging the high court's order dismissing his claim of being a juvenile in December 2012. Besides, the convict has sought a direction restraining the authorities from executing the death penalty, which has been scheduled for February 1.

President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday rejected the mercy plea of Mukesh Singh, one of the four men facing the gallows in the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case.

NirbhayaA total of six people -- Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Kumar Singh, Pawan Gupta, Ram Singh and a juvenile -- were named accused in the 2012 gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedic student here.

The victim, who is referred to as 'Nirbhaya' (fearless), was gangraped and brutally assaulted on the night of December 16, 2012, in a moving bus in South Delhi. She succumbed to her injuries days later, on December 29, at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore where she was taken for better medical treatment.

The savagery of the crime shook the nation and led to country-wide protests over the issue of women's safety and seeking speedy trial of the accused. The trial of the five adult men began in a special fast-track court in March, 2013.

Prime accused Ram Singh committed suicide by hanging himself in Tihar jail days after the trial began. Besides them, the juvenile, who was said to be the most brutal of the attackers, was put in a correctional home for three years. He was released in 2015 and sent to an undisclosed location amid concerns over a threat to his life. The juvenile, when released, was 20-years-old.

Mukesh, Vinay, Akshay and Pawan were convicted and sentenced to death in September, 2013. They were to be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar Jail, a Delhi court had announced on January 7 while issuing their death warrants.

However, the Delhi government informed the high court during a hearing that the execution of the convicts will not take place on the designated day as a mercy plea had been filed by Mukesh.

"The Home Ministry has forwarded the mercy petition of Mukesh Singh to the president. The Ministry has reiterated the recommendation of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi for its rejection," a Home Ministry official said on Friday morning. Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal's office sent Mukesh Singh's mercy petition to the Home Ministry on Thursday, a day after the Delhi government recommended its rejection.

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