Nirbhaya death-row convict Vinay Sharma approached Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal seeking to commute his death sentence to life imprisonment on Monday (March 9). His move comes soon after the Patiala Court issued a fresh death warrant for the four accused in the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case who are to be hanged till death on March 20, 5:30 AM. The convict, through his lawyer AP Singh, has filed a petition under Sections 432 and 433 of CrPC seeking to suspend his death sentence.
Vinay Sharma through his advocate prayed that he does not deserve "the extreme punishment of death," which is reserved for the "rarest of rare" cases where the alternative option of life imprisonment is unquestionably foreclosed.
His lawyer AP Singh also contended that the Governor should consider his "positive steps towards reformation, his young age, and poor socio-economic circumstances." The convict's step of moving to the Lieutenant Governor comes after President Ram Nath Kovind rejected the mercy pleas of all four convicts, exhausting all the legal remedies of their death being pardoned.
Previously, the Supreme Court on Saturday fixed March 16 for hearing a petition filed by one of the death row convicts, Mukesh Singh, seeking action against his former advocate, for the restoration of his legal remedies. Advocate ML Sharma, in his petition, alleged that convict Mukesh Singh's former lawyer Vrinda Grover had allegedly hatched a criminal conspiracy against Mukesh with Delhi Police.
A 23-year-old paramedic student Nirbhaya was gang-raped inside a running bus by six persons on December 16, 2012, in Delhi. The victim was severely assaulted and thrown out on the road along with her male friend and succumbed to injuries a few days later. Out of the six convicts, one reportedly committed suicide in prison, while another, a juvenile, served maximum punishment of three years in a reform home and was set free in 2015.
The remaining four rapists were convicted and handed the death penalty by a trial court in 2013, confirmed by the Delhi High Court in March 2014. The Supreme Court upheld the Delhi High Court's verdict in 2017.
(with inputs from ANI)