Nirbhaya rape case: SC dismisses Vinay Sharma's plea challenging rejection of mercy petition by President

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected Nirbhaya case convict Vinay Sharma's plea challenging the rejection of his mercy petition by President Ram Nath Kovind.

The SC said that there were no ground of judicial review of rejection of the mercy petition made out by the death row convict.

All material including Vinay Sharma's medical report had been placed before the President who applied his mind in rejection of mercy plea, the apex court said.

The court also cited Sharma's medical report to reject contention that he was mentally ill.

During the hearing in the Supreme Court on Friday, Justice R Banumathi fainted. She was hearing the submissions made by the Centre on separate execution of convicts in the case.

She was taken into the chamber immediately after she fainted during the hearing. The bench adjourned the case and said that the order will be released later.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta later said that Justice Banumathi "was having high fever".

"She is being examined by the doctors in the chamber. She was on medication when she was hearing the case," he explained.

Earlier, on Thursday, the Supreme Court had reserved the order on his mercy petition.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing on behalf of the Delhi government, had said that the convict was not kept in solitary confinement as argued by his 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 had 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 had added.

Lawyer, AP Singh, representing Vinay, had earlier argued that the convict was kept in illegal confinement and "illegally tortured" in Tihar Jail. He claimed that there has been a history of physical assaults on Vinay.

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."

The convict, through his lawyer, 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. The juvenile was released after 3 years in a correctional home.

(With inputs from agencies)

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