The Supreme Court in its urgent hearing on Friday, March 20, dismissed the last-minute petition of Nirbhaya case death row convict Pawan Gupta against the rejection of his mercy plea by the President. The early morning hearing was held by a bench comprising of Justices Bhanumathi, Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna.
Pawan Gupta's lawyer, AP Singh, had moved to the apex court after the Delhi High Court refused to stay the death penalty of all four convicts that is scheduled for 5.30 AM on Friday.
“We don't find any grounds for entertaining this petition for challenging executive order by which mercy petition was rejected by President. We thereby dismiss the same”, Justice Bhanumathi observed while reading out the order. "The court observed that the scope of judicial review of mercy petitions is limited," the order further said.
In his opening arguments, advocate AP Singh submitted documents claiming juvenility of Pawan Gupta at the time of the crime. Justice Ashok Bhushan had said that juvenile issues have been argued by AP Singh at every stage of the trail and the Solicitor General stated that the argument was rejected by courts throughout the trail.
Upholding the Patiala House Court's order refusing to stay execution of the four convicts, the Delhi High Court on Thursday, March 19, dismissed the convicts' plea challenging their scheduled execution. Justice Manmohan told the convicts' lawyer to understand his case was closing and that his clients will soon meet God.
The four Nirbhaya rapists had sought a stay in execution, but the Patiala House Court had rejected it after which they moved the higher courts.
While arguing the case for the convicts, their lawyer AP Singh claimed that several petitions were pending before various government bodies — one petition is pending before the NHRC, one mercy petition is pending with the President, one divorce petition pending in a Bihar court, one petition pending before the HC, one petition against the CEC also pending before the HC — but that didn't deter the court from dismissing the convicts' plea.