The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the curative petition filed by Nirbhaya rape convict Pawan Gupta. The death row convict had sought commutation of his death penalty to life imprisonment.
The news comes a day ahead of the scheduled execution of the convicts. The apex court also rejected the convict's application seeking a stay on the black warrant issued by the court for the execution.
A five-judge bench headed by Justice N V Ramana, which considered the curative plea in-chamber dismissed it stating that the applications for oral hearing and for stay on the execution had been rejected.
"The curative petition is dismissed...," the bench, also comprising Justices Arun Mishra, R F Nariman, R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan, said.
Gupta was the last of the convicts to utilise his legal right to a curative petition. Following the rejection, he now has the option of filing a mercy plea before the President.
President Ram Nath Kovind incidentally has already rejected the mercy petitions of the three other convicts, namely, Mukesh, Vinay and Akshay.
Following that, the Supreme Court had on separate occasions dismissed pleas filed by Mukesh and Vinay that challenged the rejection of their mercy petitions.
At present, Pawan still has the option of filing a mercy plea before the President. Another convict, Akshay has so far not challenged the rejection of his mercy plea.
This is not the first time the court had issued a black warrant against the Nirbhaya rape convicts. Earlier in January a Delhi court had issued death warrants against all four convicts and ordering that they be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar jail.
The date was later changed to February 1. However, with Vinay Sharma's mercy plea pending before the President at the time, the date was again changed.
The 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case had seen nationwide outrage after a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern was gang-raped and assaulted in Delhi. She later died from her injuries.
Six people had been arrested for the crime. Of these, one of the accused, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail while the trial was on. Another of the accused, being a minor at the time, was released in 2015 after spending three years in a correctional home.
(With inputs from agencies)