India’s Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a petition by Akshay Kumar Singh, one of the four convicts in the 2012 gang rape case of “Nirbhaya”, after the accused had requested to convert his death sentence to life imprisonment.
In his plea, Akshay Kumar Singh argued that the court had in the past commuted the capital punishment of people accused of rape and murder.
“…the idea that life imprisonment amounts to ‘forgiving’ the criminal is backed by nothing more than a barely masked need to justify vengeance and retribution,” the convict argued.
On Wednesday, another convict Mukesh Singh’s petition challenging the rejection of his mercy plea by the President of India was dismissed by the top court. Mukesh Singh claimed that he was tortured in prison and the medical reports proving his allegations weren’t presented before the President.
The court rejected the petition, saying torture cannot be considered grounds and all documents were taken into consideration by President Ram Nath Kovind while reviewing the plea.
Out of the six men found guilty of the rape, the key accused Ram Singh died in custody in a Delhi jail, and another one was set free after spending three years in a reform facility as he was a juvenile when the crime was committed.
The Delhi Court on 7 January announced that the four men - Pawan Gupta, Mukesh Kumar Singh, Akshay Thakur and Vinay Sharma - convicted in the rape and murder of the Delhi woman will be hanged on 22 January, giving them 14 days to file mercy petitions with the President. The date was later shifted to 1 February.